Beauty Within the Beast: Raising Orphaned Bear Cubs in the Alaskan Wilderness
Stephen F. Stringham PhD
January 1, 2013
An innocent act of kindness turns a bear into a dangerous marauder and when she is killed she leaves her three cubs without a mother. Stephen Stringham and his new bride decided to raise these three orphan cubs in the Alaska wilderness. Together, they taught Ontak, Chrislee, and Jonjoanak about which plants they could eat and how to fish and hunt. Dr. Stringham's extensive scientific background made him an ideal teacher of the foraging skills and the social skills they would need to live in a bear's world. In the process of teaching them, Stringham learns from the cubs how bears express fear, anger, and how to appease defensive bears and intimidate the aggressive ones. He and his wife would develop trust and respect through their affection and play, helping to heal the cubs' emotional wounds and decrease their aggression and violence. As the Springhams' bond with their furry charges deepens, they realize that it is a connection that is all too uncommon between people and animals. When Dr. Stringham is told by the Department of Fish and Game to destroy the bears, the depth of that bond would be tested. Beauty within the Beast is a heartwarming true story of how people and animals can find common ground and live in harmony on earth.