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Best 'Bear' in Wedding Inspires Wild Animal Show

Naturalist Casey Anderson and his adopted bear Brutus. Brutus was the best "man" at Anderson's wedding.
Naturalist Casey Anderson and his adopted bear Brutus. Brutus was the best "man" at Anderson's wedding. (Image credit: Casey Anderson )

NEW YORK — Taking one's work home may not always be advisable. But for animal tracker and naturalist Casey Anderson, it's one of the best things that ever happened to him. After saving a grizzly bear cub named Brutus from euthanasia, he raised it and now considers the animal his best friend — Brutus was even the best "man" at his wedding.

But Anderson still focuses most of his energy on tracking down and filming wild animals — everything from bighorn sheep to gargantuan moose to vampire bats — in the second season of his show, "America the Wild," which debuts at 10 p.m. ET on Sunday (Aug. 18) on the Nat Geo WILD channel.

During an interview with LiveScience, Anderson brought along a fox and a baby alligator, which he had to sneak into a hotel room. The fox, while shy, quickly calmed down and let this reporter hold her (before leaving a few scratches). The alligator likewise obliged, although its eyes portrayed something closer to reptilian indifference. Both types of animals are profiled on the show. [Video: Q&A with an Animal Tracker, Fox & Alligator]

Raising a grizzly taught Anderson more than a few things about how bears behave, that they have individual personalities and a range of emotions, Anderson told LiveScience. His insights into bear behavior helped him track grizzly bears in Yellowstone National Park at nighttime, observing never-seen-before late-night antics of the animals.

Anderson has had more than a few close calls along the way. Scaling caves to find vampire bats, he almost fell more than once. And in an episode in Alaska, he found himself amid a group of about 15 huge moose, two of which charged him. He narrowly escaped each charge. Moose are more dangerous than bears, he said, because they are more unpredictable.

Anderson said he strongly discourages anybody from adopting a pet bear, but his was a special case, he said, since he is a trained animal handler and the bear would have been killed had he not stepped in. Inspired by Brutus, Anderson opened a grizzly bear shelter called the Montana Grizzly Encounter, near Bozeman, Mont.

Naturalist Casey Anderson and his adopted bear Brutus in a meadow. Brutus is Anderson's "best friend." (Image credit: Casey Anderson )

Email Douglas Main or follow him on Twitter or Google+. Follow us @livescience, Facebook or Google+. Article originally on LiveScience.

Douglas Main
Douglas Main loves the weird and wonderful world of science, digging into amazing Planet Earth discoveries and wacky animal findings (from marsupials mating themselves to death to zombie worms to tear-drinking butterflies) for Live Science. Follow Doug on Google+.