When Casey Anderson met Brutus the bear, the animal was just a cub. Born in an overcrowded wildlife park, Brutus would likely have been euthanized. That’s when Anderson stepped in and whisked away the 5-month-old cub.
While Brutus got to live at Anderson’s home at first, the situation soon had to change when he became too big to exist in such an environment, Anderson says in the National Geographic video below.
That’s when Anderson founded the Montana Grizzly Encounter, a “rescue and education sanctuary” located in Bozeman, Mont. The animals that the organization rescues, with Brutus its first, are all born in captivity and generally lived in poor, “inhumane” conditions before being saved, according to the website.
“Brutus can’t be in the wild because he didn’t get to spend the first three years of his life with his wild mother,” Anderson told OWN according to the Huffington Post. “That’s when bears in the wild learn everything they need to know to survive.” Because of this lack of proper wilderness education, these bears can’t simply be released into the wild – they wouldn’t have the skills and know-how to stay alive on their own. The Grizzly Encounter allows them to live in a natural environment while still having human volunteers seeing to the needs that they cannot cater to by themselves.
The relationship between Anderson and Brutus is a special one, Anderson says in the video below. The two of them are best friends. “I was having a hard time, was really upset about some things… I was crying,” Anderson recalls to OWN. “I could see that he wanted to take the pain away from me. He came up to me very gently and nudged me. He just stood by me unconditionally and he listened to me and he was there when I was crying. It’s truly what I needed from him. This relationship is a give-and-take.”
Now around 14 years old, Brutus is still incredibly close with Anderson. He was even the ‘best man’ at his wedding. Anderson has written a book about his experience with Brutus: “The Story of Brutus: My Life with Brutus the Bear and the Grizzlies of North America,” available on Amazon. Despite the bear’s intimidating stature, the two kindred souls’ friendship doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.
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