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.