A critique of the portrayal of grizzly bears in contemporary natural history films
Shier, John Walter.
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Natural History films and television programs are based on the perception that the grizzly bear is an animal that only lives, that only belongs in wilderness. These films and programs spread and strengthen this perception among audiences, compelling them to relegate grizzlies to the few parcels of land that still meet our society's definition of wilderness. The perception ensures that the grizzly's long-term survival in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is threatened; the regions wilderness areas simply don't provide enough habitat for the bears and many people are unwilling to tolerate the presence of grizzlies anywhere except wilderness. Natural history films require a new grizzly archetype if they are to have a positive impact on behalf of the grizzly. This archetype, which perceives the grizzly as an appropriate species for both wilderness and rural landscapes, must be based less on an anthrocentric perception of the grizzly and more on an ecocentric perspective.