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Brown Bear's

Black Bears,Brown bears, Grizzlies etc.

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Re: Brown Bear's

Postby Lionsniper » Wed Oct 13, 2010 9:57 am

Legend, thanks for posting that article, how sad that she is gone now. Oh, to have been a protege of hers!!!

Pat, thanks for your cut/paste info. The problem is that your site in saved to my Favorites on this work computer. I am no longer allowed to access Facebook at work, so this is the problem. I do not own a computer myself, such a drag, one day I suppose, but my animals come first, very little money left as I am sure you understand this. :piggy:
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Re: Brown Bear's

Postby Legend » Sat Oct 16, 2010 1:48 am

Your very welcome Cynthia.

I'm always interested in hearing about great bear trainers, and it always neat to hear their training being compared to big cats.

I've always heard that bear were far less predictable and less forgiving of their trainers mistakes then big cats. But then I see Bart with Doug, and sometimes I wonder if this is exaggerated or if they just have an especially strong bond. It's probably the latter, but it's something I've always been curious about.
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Re: Brown Bear's

Postby pat » Sun Oct 17, 2010 9:26 am

I also would love to hear how these animals are trained.
Not that I would train sybil and benny in that reguard.
but, as you said, it helps learn new ideas.

I can remember doug seus saying on an interview, of some of the things he does with his bears. one is, he gently blows into the bears nose.
he thinks, this helps bonding and trust (I have to wonder how he figured that out) anyway, when sybil was younger, and I had a hell of a time bonding with her, and getting her to make eye contact with me. I actually started do that to her, and seemed to help a little. of course, there are more ways I had to work with her. but, everything helpful was a bonus.

with sybil, for some reason now, she always has very intense eye contact with me. really hard to explain. benny was always a good bear. (he come from a good breeder) I never had any problems with him. I don't seem to have such intense eye contact with benny as I do with sybil.

on the bear trainers, I would have to say, some got bit, but, was never heard of. the woman that trained the polar bears, did get bit several times.
I did read that somewhere. but, that is all part of the job.
I still give her, doug sues and any large animal trainer alot of credit.

I would think it is a must, to work many hours with these large animals for entertainment training.

I also have high respect for lynn rogers. he has done a wonderful job interacting with the black bears in the wild.
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Re: Brown Bear's

Postby Lionsniper » Mon Oct 18, 2010 12:57 pm

There was a really great story years ago in Reader's Digest about a couple in Minnesota who raised/released black bears into the wild. One sow would bring her wild born cubs back to this couple to visit. I know blowing into a foal's nostrils is a form of imprinting on the foal, this could be why Doug Seuss did this to his bears, most likely a form of bonding. Trial and error is the best teacher, the animals will teach you what is acceptable to them, there is no cookie cutter method, all animals are individual, what works for one will not necessarily work for another. There is basic animal behavior, a chuff from any tiger means hello, however there are nuances unique to each individual tiger.

I read several big cat trainer autobiographies, never have I come across an autobiography of a bear trainer, such as that German woman. I've never been around polar bears, would love to know the difference in their training and behaviors. I would venture to say there are thousands of big cat trainers all over the world, the polar bear must be very difficult, I have only heard of this woman who was able to train them.

Interesting about the intense eye contact with Sybil. Have you ever felt threatened by her, like maybe she is trying to dominate you with that eye contact? Many species, especially primates, take direct eye contact as a threat. I'm trying to remember if that is when Bentley charged me, if I made direct eye contact with him. He was a black bear. :bear:
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Re: Brown Bear's

Postby pat » Thu Oct 21, 2010 11:27 am

Trial and error is the best teacher, the animals will teach you what is acceptable to them
oh so true. I have learned alot from sybil and benny.

Interesting about the intense eye contact with Sybil. Have you ever felt threatened by her, like maybe she is trying to dominate you with that eye contact? Many species, especially primates, take direct eye contact as a threat. I'm trying to remember if that is when Bentley charged me, if I made direct eye contact with him. He was a black bear
I could be wrong, but, I thought I heard doug suez, that it is important to have eye contact with bears. however, what is not good, is when they stand. I will have eye contact with sybil when she is sitting, and so am I.
I know for sure, her eye contact is not a domanant issue.
I hand feed her also with eye contact. this is usually done at the same level.

I know some animals take the eye contact as a threat or dominance issue.
but, I think, if this is done on the same level position. I don't think it would be good to try this with a standing bear. sybil is always sitting when we have constant eye contact. my bears are not allowed to stand around me.
if they stand, they get yelled at, and wont' get any treats.

I think some depends on how they were raised, there breeders, their enviroment.

actually, I have not seen my bears stand. once in awhile, at the fence holding on to a 2x4 attached to the fence. but, she gets yelled at for that.

benny only sits up. I haven't seen him stand for along time. maybe he is too fat :lol:

I am not saying I am correct on my theory, but, this is only what I have experienced with them, and seems to work.
I am sure there is so much more I can and want to learn about raising black bears, any animal for that fact.

you know, it is interesting though, that it seems there are more tigers that are used for performing than bears. I have never raised one, nor would I want to.
for some reason they scare me. maybe because their attacks are more deadly than a black bear attack. but, I have heard that when tigers do attack, they generally go for the neck, where as black bears will go for the leg. I guess in a black bears mind, the mission is, to knock down their enemy first.. icon_confused.gif

the grizzleys and polars are way over my head, litterly and mentally.
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Re: Brown Bear's

Postby Lionsniper » Thu Oct 21, 2010 12:00 pm

My experiences with bears is limited, I've never raised a cub or had direct contact with the adults I cared for other than raising them up for treats and petting them through the bars of their cage. But thanks for sharing your experience with raising your 2 black bears. What happened as cubs that made you teach them not to raise up? Bears have always reminded me of dogs, maybe their eyes and their willingness to please and interact, more than say some of the big cats at times. For me big cats behave exactly as domestic cats, they greet you when you enter their cage by rubbing up against you with tails in the air, want to be loved on and then when they have had enought, they walk away. One thing I learned, you never turn your back on a cat when you are in the cage with them, they tend to want to jump you and while I have never been hurt, I am sure this could very well escalate if allowed to continue. Tigers do kill with a bite to the neck, usually from behind. I've had leopards jump right into my arms, frontal play attack and a lep/jag that jumped me from behind as I was leaving his cage, that felt like a ton of bricks. He never put his mouth on me, just wanted to knock me down. However, when I entered the cage of 2 adult cougars I had not known as cubs, they never jumped me, my movements were slow and deliberate, yes I had my back turned at times picking up poop, but I always knew where they were. In my experience, animals have no malice, unless you abused them, I've always felt quite safe around them. Cat's eyes will change noticeably and then you know it is time to leave. I never noticed that with bears, only 1 ever charged me and he was in a down position, I just think his cage was too small (which it was) and he was just particularly frustrated that day, but I wonder if their pupils change like the big cats. With elephants, you see the whites of their eyes before they act out, in one case anyway, as I was told and saw for myself, as she became more agitated, her eyes would roll back and you could see the whites from the side of her face. I would love the opportunity to care for a polar bear. Can you imagine cuddling up to one of them, that would be pretty cool.
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Re: Brown Bear's

Postby pat » Thu Oct 21, 2010 12:29 pm

What happened as cubs that made you teach them not to raise up?
nothing happened. I just thought I was using a little common sense.
when they were really small, I let them stand. but, as they got older, I put a stop to it. I think, in the wild, when two bears fight, they stand.
but, either way, my preference would be for them to be on all fours.
(they are shorter than me icon-smile )
as long as sybil is looking at me, she generally is a good mood.

her moods can change, not often. but, I just play it safe.
she was spoiled growing up. very spoiled for that matter.
benny was not.

I don't really see much change in sybils eyes, when she looks at me, her look stays the same. both bears love attention and people.

but, your right, sometimes, a bears or any animal, that is in a small pen, with little to do, that is asking for trouble there.

yike, you go in the pen with the tigers :shock: you are trusting.
don't you carry some type of defense with you, just in case?

interesting about how a cats eyes can change with their moods.
I believe that is really good to know for people that care for big cats.
they are beautiful animals, but, would rather see them somewhere other than here


Can you imagine cuddling up to one of them, that would be pretty cool.
yep, would be pretty neat. I keep telling sybil and benny I want to give them a big "bear hug" :monk-dev:
heck, I asked them if I could hibernate with them. :lol:
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Re: Brown Bear's

Postby Lionsniper » Thu Oct 21, 2010 2:54 pm

Well, Pat, I guess you hit the nail on the head, Trust, along with Love and Respect for these animals. I was 26 when I raised 2 tiger cubs, got them off the bottle, it never entered my mind that they would ever hurt me and they never did. Not one scratch. They have perfect dexterity of their claws. But if you have a mindset that any animal is dangerous and can hurt you, it is a self-fulfilling prophesy. Here in Florida I was asked to carry a small PVC pipe in my back pocket but never had to use it. We had fire extinguishers on the premises.
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Re: Brown Bear's

Postby pat » Thu Oct 21, 2010 7:40 pm

wouldn't a tazer or similar be better? are big cats afraid of getting zapped?
I know bears are. I have a tazer, but, never had to use it.
just the sound of it scares sybil. I tried it one time when she had a bad mood moment, she ran. but, to be honest, I would think something like that would be better than a steel pipe for big cats. but, as I said, I really don't know much about big cats, only what I read on this board, and what you have told me .

you know, I have to wonder now, with the few black bear attacks or any animal for that matter, as to how they are being raised. the last attack in ohio, (to me) is questible as to what the bears enviroment was like.

when bears and big cats are babies, they are cute as button, but, too many people look at how cute they are, and don't plan on thm growing up and what to do with them after that icon-sad

I honestly discourage people from getting large animals like this.
if a potential bear owner has had experience with a mulitude of animals in the past, has the proper equipment and finances for a very large pen, wants to continue learning about that animal and is willing to do whatever it takes to make these animals happy, then I would say, yep, go for it.

I have seen too many large animals not cared for properly, cant care for them any longer, abuse etc. this is what puts a hurting to us responsible owners.
when an animal attacks or is release back in the wild icon-sad , everyone suffers, owners and the animal.

if some people would only use common sense..... like the woman with travis the ape, she called her friend to help her. personally, that is the last thing I would have done. we need to be in control or at least have a back up plan.
I would never never ask anyone to help me with an animal, (even a dog) that I couldn't handle.

unfortately, too many people are too trusting. we always have to be on-guard icon_confused.gif and think "what-if"
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Re: Brown Bear's

Postby Lionsniper » Fri Oct 22, 2010 11:15 am

To use a tazer on a big cat, you will have one pissed off big cat. A place I worked at I thought they were out of their mind, they should not have to use such a device, and sure enough, they can no longer go in with that tiger. These people were amateurs, sure they got some gigs with Animal Planet and did some fairs, but when the cats were young. A real trainer works the adult cats, bears, whatever and does not declaw them either. I met and watched a trainer for Josip Marcan work the cats. No gun, no taser, just a backup helper on the outside of the ring. I even got to go in and pet and take photos of and with a 7y old tiger who never met me before. You may think this foolish, but what works for me will not work for you or anyone else and vice versus. We all have our individual talents, just look at how many people work with the big cats, their profiles on Facebook, there are thousands. Again, I state that no animal is inherently dangerous. They have thoughts, feelings and a soul, otherwise in all my experience and some stupid mistakes on my part, I would not be here typing this. I have become really good friends with a gal who has worked with lions and tigers. She, as others have, was able to lay with the Momma tiger and her newborn cubs, very impressive. There are no words to explain this, it just is what it is.

I totally agree with you, there are people who get these types of large animals and then disgard them, but there are also the people who do the same thing to horses other domestics and even children. You can't stop this. And it does hurt those of us who know what we are doing. The only reason I am writing on these boards is because temporarily I am out of the exotic world other than volunteering when I can. I would have my own cat, however, it is the expense that has prevented this. I own 10 acres and can't see putting one cat in less than one acre of enclosure. Plus when I was working in the field I had an unsupportive husband. But that being said, I continue to meet really great big cat people here in Florida who let me handle their cats, so in essence, it is like they become mine without the expense. It has also allowed me to become active in the fight to preserve the right to be able to own any animal we choose as long as we are responsible. Laws were being passed here in Florida that I had no clue, because I devote my entire time to caring for the exotics, no computer time at all.

As far as the chimp owner, who are we to judge, that could happen to anyone, noone is above making mistakes, that is why we are called humans, and the poor animals are at our mercy. I look at the length of time that woman owned that chimp, a very long time before this tragic incident happened. The owner I believe was in her early 70's, the mind ain't what it used to be at that age. We'll never hear the true story, the media makes sure of that.
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Re: Brown Bear's

Postby pat » Mon Oct 25, 2010 10:52 am

To use a tazer on a big cat, you will have one pissed off big cat
wow, I would think it would scare them and most other animals.
guess big cats are fearless..

bears are scared of loud noises and any type of electric shock. in the wild, bears will take a trade off of getting stung by bees, to get to the honey.

quite impressive how the tigers can adapt with people. but, I still think everyone should always have a backup plan. but, we certainly are not in a perfect world.

I personally think, that bears, tigers moods can change in an instant. if the animal is raised and trained properly, the I think the chances are slimmer though. but, can still happen.

Code: Select all

I even got to go in and pet and take photos of and with a 7y old tiger who never met me before
I give you alot of credit for that. you can'nt pay me enough to do that....


there are people who get these types of large animals and then disgard them, but there are also the people who do the same thing to horses other domestics and even children
yep, so very sad. these type of people need to understand animals and kids. there should be care sheets for every animal that is purchased, people need to be more educated on animals and children for that matter. seems there are alot of people out there that defnately don't know how to care for their kids either, if they don't want them, then they just kill them.. :twisted:
I think every baby that is born, should get care sheets and take a course in raising kids :monk-dev:

as for that chimp, you have a good point. she did have him for many years.
and she most likely did take care of him. I do know the news media does fabricate stories to their "likings" :roll: but, either way, travis's owner should not have involved her friend when she couldn't control travis.
this all goes back to a "backup" plan. I don't know anything about apes, but, travis's owner does.

I certainly understand that accidents do happen, we just do the best we can.
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Re: Brown Bear's

Postby Lionsniper » Mon Oct 25, 2010 11:47 am

I feel the woman who helped the owner of Travis, she knew full well the risks of such an animal or at least she should have after helping the owner for so many years. This woman put herself at risk, and then tries to sue the owner over what happened to her. It is an accepted risk, because you are right, you never know when an animal can turn. I've been lucky, I've taken some risks, but there is not one person who works with these animals that could say they never have, noone is perfect. But when you work with these animals day in, day out, you should be able to read them very well or you are in the wrong profession and sooner or later will pay the price for it. I just read where a volunteer got snagged by a claw and then bit by a tiger. Obviously, he was not paying attention, or maybe he was a newbie, I forgot how long he was a volunteer at this place. Too bad this makes national news, to me, this accident can come with the territory sometimes, this should not make headlines, a death yes, but not this.

I don't know Pat, all this makes me weary. Live and let live. Leave us alone who are doing what we love and let us continue to have the animals we want as pets, we have been doing this for many years. I've had more close calls riding my horse than I ever had taking care of exotics, my choice of hobby and I accept the risks involved. :eleph:
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Re: Brown Bear's

Postby pat » Mon Oct 25, 2010 8:28 pm

I think, on the travis, the owner was having problems with travis, that is why she called her friend. but, I understand what you are saying.

but, the way I think, is if your going to own a large and potentially dangerous animal, then you should have a back up plan, and never involve your friend.
but, I doubt we heard the whole story anyway. icon_confused.gif

honestly, if sybil and/or benny got out, and was out of control, I would do the best I could to get them in control. if nothing worked, they would be shot.

animals could be good as gold for years, then anything could trigger their mood.
this even happens in dogs.. actually, I think it happens in people more :lol:

don't know Pat, all this makes me weary. Live and let live. Leave us alone who are doing what we love and let us continue to have the animals we want as pets, we have been doing this for many years. I've had more close calls riding my horse than I ever had taking care of exotics, my choice of hobby and I accept the risks involved
I agree. but, again, don't involve others in animal behavior problems. maybe I am just an overly cautious person.

I was thinking today about your post, and it got me to thinking.
animals are not the only ones that "could" be dangerous.
there are so much out there and more, that is.
if we think of it, it is dangerous to be in a car, motorycle, plane, boat etc. it is dangerous to walk down the street, heck, even being in your own home.

so, now I think of it, animals are safer than people. too bad the jerks that keep adding bans dont realize this.

I feel the laws should be changed for murderers, rapists.
how many areas are there that there are rapists, that were in jail for a short time, they are let out to do it again :roll:

sorry for getting carried away.

but, to keep a bear subject here a little sybil and benny are getting ready to hibernate. well benny is more so than sybil. we made their bed for them yesterday :mrgreen:
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Re: Brown Bear's

Postby pat » Mon Oct 25, 2010 8:31 pm

got a favor to ask you. we started talking about creating another web site, that would revolve around our rights, care sheets, pros and cons of owning animals. since you have experience on big cats, would you be willing to pitch in? no hurry, this is something that is just a thought right now.

the info is in legal issues forum, under "need help with wording.."
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Re: Brown Bear's

Postby Lionsniper » Tue Oct 26, 2010 10:35 am

I have to ask a dumb question here because bears do not hibernate in Florida, but do your bears stay in their dens the whole time of hibernation? I know they live off their stored fat, but since they are captive, do they do this?

It's funny you mention about people being dangerous, I wrote many articles for Animal Finder's Guide (I get on a roll sometimes) and in one of them I mentioned that I would rather live next to someone with tigers and lions than a family whose child or even the parents are drug addicts, say crackheads. These people are far more unpredictable and dangerous than any big cat. Heck you shoot a lion or tiger, it would take one bullet, you have to empty an entire round into someone who is strung out on coke or crack to kill them sometimes. No experience, this is what I've been told since I have a crackhead for a neighbor and I am armed and ready. I've loved guns since I was a kid anyway. Oh and lets not forget ALF (Animal Liberation Front) basically domestic terrorists whom kill scientists and would put us fellow exotic animal owners in their crosshairs. I do believe they have harrassed owners in some States.

Sure, I would be happy to help in anyway I can for your new website.

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