Naturalist Fails to Assimilate Into Bear Culture

Contributed by Scoot McD Scud Langley

South Dakota – Naturalist Riley Jorgensen was found dead on August 21st, 2007 after being reported missing the day before when he hadn’t returned from his journey into bear country of western South Dakota.  Friends say that he was attempting a Jane Goodall type documentary on the behavior of brown bears and their benevolence towards strangers.

Jorgensen had already become widely known for his first documentary, “To Tickle a Mountain Lion” during which he had to be rushed to the emergency room 18 times for severe lacerations, a few of which led to the amputation of his left hand.  The video was said to be too graphic to play on Discovery Channel due to the repeated mountain lion attacks.

Jorgensen had spent 2 years of his life and several thousand dollars studying brown bear behavior and was almost obsessive according to acquaintances.  He had even attempted hibernation which led to him sleeping for about 10 days and almost starving to death before being rushed to the hospital.  Despite the intensive study, however, he didn’t last long amidst his bear brethren.  The following journal entry was found in a mangled notebook amongst Jorgensen’s remains 3 miles from his last reported location.

August 13th, 2007
I have begun the challenge of integrating myself into the brown bear’s culture.  Tomorrow morning, I will attempt to befriend one of the cubs (who I have named Rutherford B. Hayes) with some roughhousing.

This was the first and only entry into his journal.

  1. #1 by Scoot McD on June 19, 2011 - 7:55 pm

    Very well written. It’s good to see “actual” reporting amidst the sea of lies.

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