Saturday, May 10, 2008

Doug Seus, Alive and Well

Every day for the past couple of weeks a number of people have arrived at this blog after searching for information on Doug Seus, trainer of grizzly bears Bart the Bear, Little Bart, Honey Bump, and Tank. Evidently many people have been concerned that Doug was the trainer accidentally killed while working with one of the grizzlies.

Doug is alive and well and so are Little Bart, Honey Bump, and Tank.

Sadly, animal trainer Stephen Miller of Big Bear Lake, California died from an accidental bite on his neck by Rocky, a trained grizzly bear who has appeared in numerous movies. For more information, click here.

I often post on Doug and Lynne Seus and The Vital Ground Foundation, a nonprofit organization for which I am very, very proud and honored to serve on the Board of Advisors and the Development Committee.

For those not familiar with how Vital Ground came to be, I invite you to learn about Bart the Bear and his incredible legacy.


As professional animal trainers for the last 25 years, Doug and Lynne Seus have dedicated their lives to developing new and innovative programs for the raising, training and treatment of animals. Inspired by Bart the Bear, who died in 2000 at the age of 23, Doug and Lynne wanted to do something in return for wild grizzlies, at the same time ensuring the preservation of native forests, grass prairies and all of the plants and animals that share the land with the Great Bear. Founded in 1990, Vital Ground is dedicated to that task.

The work Bart started ten years ago continues with Tank, an 850-pound nine-year-old grizzly and Bart and Honey-Bump (a brother and sister) who will carry on in his giant footsteps as Ambassadors of Vital Ground.

Big Bart the Bear

Bart the Bear died peacefully surrounded by his family and friends at his home in Utah on May 10, 2000. Bart was born in a U.S. zoo on January 19, 1977. His destiny was not to live out his 23-1/2 years in the unchanging confinement of a zoo, but to see the world and become a beloved member of a human family. He came to Doug and Lynne Seus as a five-pound bundle and grew to 1,500 pounds, standing 9-1/2 feet tall. His long film career took him and his family from the Austrian/Italian Alps to the wilderness of Alaska, all over the U.S. and Canada, and finally to the stage of the 1998 Academy Awards. He loved to be in the spotlight and relished the applause and cheers of the film crew much more than he did his salmon and blueberries.

Bart the Bear's legacy went far beyond his film career. He is the "spokesbear" for the Animal Cancer Center at Colorado State University, but his greatest role was as Ambassador of Vital Ground. Vital Ground has procured threatened wildlife habitat in Idaho, Montana and Alaska. Because of Bart's life in captivity, many of his wild brothers and sisters are able to roam free.

Bart is survived by his human family: Doug, Lynne, Clint, Jed and Sausha, and his bear brother "Tank." His old swimming hole was filled with love and joy when the circle of life brought the Seuses two orphaned grizzly cubs. The cub's mother was shot 200 miles north of Anchorage. These babies miraculously survived alone for over two days when the Alaska Fish and Game rescued them. The little boy cub carries on Bart's legacy and is his namesake. The girl cub is called Honey-Bump Bear. These cubs will follow in Bart's giant footsteps to bring the wondrous spirit of the bear into many lives and hearts.

For more information on the work of Doug and Lynne Seus, please visit

For more information on The Vital Ground Foundation, please visit


joe r said...

Doug---really enjoyed the program with BIG BART--It's been quite a while since then-- The thought of you losing him still makes me sad---He had to be a "once in a lifetime" bear---Wishing you continued success with your bears-- Joe R

Anonymous said...

I think Bart was a great bear, & you played a big part in his life. Thank God for people like you who love our wildlife, & are willing to help & protect them. Keep up the good work!