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Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks: Stop the senseless killing request of Yosemite the bear!

This petition had 1,251 supporters

You may have read some news reports about the recent Bear incident in Montana at Animals of Montana, an animal casting facility for motion pictures, commercials , and photographers. This incident, involves the tragic death of a trainer, Ben Cloutier and also the death of the bear Griz after Griz was found over top of Ben and Ben had suffered puncture wounds.

Animals of Montana needs our support and they need it quick and they NEED you’re your help in stopping the senseless killing of Yosemite, another bear the was in the pen, but had nothing to do with Ben‘s death. They need all the support they can get. They were "officially requested"   by the State of Montana to kill Yosemite as well, immediately. This is HORRIBLE and makes NO SENSE.  

I ask you to please read my letter and concern and the facts regarding this situation. I truly feel that destroying Yosemite the bear at Animals of Montana is not only unfortunate but wrong and unjust. Please read the facts presented and consider helping to stop this from happening.

My wife Ally and I had the pleasure of taking several students of photography to photograph at Animals of Montana in September.  As my wife and I travel all the time, we were tired at the time and to be honest, didn’t really feel like going. However, upon our very first moments of being at Animals of Montana, we knew we were in for a very special unforgettable time.

Without any reservation, I can say that this particular trip changed me in ways I would have never thought.  Although a full time professional portrait photographer and educator, I have always enjoyed nature, but this trip stirred something in me I had never experienced.  From the start, I witnessed the love and adoration that Troy and his trainers had for these beautiful animals.  As the animals were brought out for us to photograph, we never once felt we were in any danger at all and we were completely taught how to act around the animals as well as making sure we always were in the proper place for our safety as well as the safety of the animals. They had complete control of everything that was done.  

So how was I changed?  My story is that as a Professional Portrait photographer, although enjoying nature and wildlife I really hadn’t thought about it too much in regards to the animal kingdom.  My accounts had really only been at Zoos, the Circus or on Television.  Here I was, now being able to photograph these beautiful animals, in  natural settings.  Almost immediately, something in me came alive and I felt a love and passion for them that is hard to explain. I also felt an appreciation for wildlife and to protect it like I have never felt before.  Something that I had never experienced as a photographer or in general awoke inside me. I truly feel that this was one of the highlights of my life. In the end, I walked away with an adoration for the animal kingdom that I had never had before. I also walked away with a tremendous amount of respect and appreciation for the work Animals of Montana are involved in.

Now to hear that there is talk of destroying Yosemite, my stomach and heart ache  There is no need to do this. I understand the facts of the case very well and also know that Yosemite had no blood on his claws or mouth, and althoughhe was in the pen, there is no evidence at all that warrants his destruction. In fact, the evidence suggest he was not involved at all.   There is no reason for this beautiful bear to be killed. It only adds tragedy to an already tragic situation. I encourage anyone who reads this, to consider what I have said as well as the absolute tragedy it would be to take Yosemite’s life. We need to mourn Ben. He was an amazing trainer and loved his job and the animals.  It is a tragedy, but there is no reason to add to this tragic situaion.

Animals of Montana have an extremely clean record. To take this tragedy plus the loss of Eddie their other trainer from a car accident last month and then to further devastate them by forcing them to kill Yosemite with unwarranted reason, is in my opinion,  just not right.   

Troy, Demetri and all of Animals of Montana staff have NO INTENTION of putting down Yosemite without a fight. It is a case of a tragic unfortunate situation, being turned into  a situation that is becoming more tragic and without validity.

Also, the facts are that although Ben lost a lot of blood from puncture wounds from Griz, there is no evidence of an attack in the sense of how a bear attck should look. No defense wounds, no scratches, no shredding, no bear spray used, no screaming, no other animals with erratic behavior and noise(This alone would for sure take place) and Demetri was in the house with the door open. It is like a dog that takes ownership of a toy. Ben in all likelihood was already unconscious from possibly slipping or a medical issue and then Griz did what is natural.  This is a tragic accident and  they have already suffered. This on top of the tragic loss of Eddie just a month ago.  They do not need to suffer more loss.  Please, let’s band together and show some support and do all we can to help them.
Please email me at to find out how you can help stop this senseless killing adding tragedy to tragedy. PLEASE , let’s band together and help them out!
Time is of the essence to save Yosemite’s life and help Animals of Montana out. I know personally, I was forever changed by my experience there. 

David McKay

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