Brutus the bear was all set to be euthanized back when he was a cub, but then Casey Anderson stepped in.
An animal tracker and star of the show America The Wild on Nat GEO Wild, Anderson decided to adopt the grizzly cub and raised it as one of his family. The two were so close that when Anderson got married, Brutus the bear stood in as his best “man.”
Casey said he learned a lot while raising Brutus, picking up skills he used in his job as an animal tracker at Yellowstone National Park. Having closely watched Brutus’ nighttime routines, Anderson now had a better idea of how wild bears acted once the sun went down.
Though he and Brutus the bear are close, Anderson admits that a grizzly is not a very good pet. But Anderson is a trained animal handler, capable of nurturing the several hundred pound animal.
His work with Brutus even inspired Anderson to open a grizzly bear shelter in Montana called Montana Grizzly Encounter. All of the bears at the sanctuary were born into captivity — often including inhumane conditions — and would never be able to survive in the wild.
The sanctuary also allows people to watch bears close up, and ever year thousands of school age children visit and get a chance to meet Brutus the bear and his companions.
“We give the bears the best possible life here at the sanctuary,” a website for the sanctuary notes. “We give people an opportunity to see and understand this awesome creature safely, up close, with no bars or cages to obstruct the view.”
The site also includes a gallery of videos of the bears playing, including Brutus the bear celebrating his 11th birthday by tearing open some gift bags full of goodies and devouring a cake.