“The Beast of Our Time” was about the sad fate of the American grizzly bear facing extinction, assaulted by both global warming and ESA delisting. “The Return of the Grizzly” is about the new, and novel, ground zero initiatives underway to save the species, including a planned system of under and overpasses designed to give “that male bear, that explorer bear, that innovative bear, the bear with culture and genes for linkage,” the opportunity to connect isolated populations before they are all “snuffed out, traits lost.” (Barry Gilbert).
Then there’s 399, the magnificent, mother bear, living in an urban community and inspiring citizens of all ages to “lovingly usher this magnificent bear through this last phase of her earth walk. She deserves nothing less.” These challenges give new meaning to what it means to have public lands protected for as long as grass grows and rivers flow, not only by those who do all the living and working and dying there, but for the wild, also.
A third storyline underscores the critical idea that the grizzly bear, and the wilderness it defines, is essential to our sanity. We now have the rare archival footage shot by Doug Peacock, back in the 1970s, scenes of grizzlies in their natural state, in concert with all of nature, in Yellowstone and Glacier. Something happens to us at the cellular level when we get out among living things, as opposed to being surrounded by death in its many forms. To heal the psychic wounds of war, Doug embraced the wilderness where man is humbled by apex predators; and where peace, love and understanding are reborn. We will connect the hauntingly beautiful past to the present scenes of the urgent fight on the ground to preserve the spirit of the grizzly.
The film will present the solutions, the big ideas that are critical to bringing people together before it’s too late.
“Extend your innate empathy to distant tribes and strange animals. Arm yourself with friendship and love the earth. Remember your elders. Hold nothing back. The indigenous viewpoint should replace all notions of Western wildlife management. Embrace the necessity of civil disobedience,” Doug Peacock, Was It Worth It?: A Wilderness Warrior’s Long Trail Home.