A bold experiment by Canadian researchers to test whether humans can coexist with grizzlies has come to an end with the brutal slaughter of the subject bears.
When Charlie Russell returned this year to his remote research station at the southern tip of Russias Kamchatka peninsula (see "Running With Bears," March/April 1999), he found the gall bladder of a baby bear nailed to the kitchen wall. After two months, he was unable to find any of the wild bears he and his partner, painter Maureen Enns, had come to know and trust over the previous seven years. Up to 40 grizzlies were killed, he believes, by organized-crime figures who opposed the ranger program he and Enns had helped start that was crimping the poaching of bear parts and salmon caviar. Devastated, Russell and Enns returned to Canada. They now hope to find a willing community that wants to learn how to live in harmony with a bear population. But, says Russell, "I have spent so much time with bears I feel out of touch with the realities of working with humans." Paul Rauber