Mammoth enjoys world premiere of The Bear Whisperer

searles_schotzIt was a big night for Bear Whisperer fans. On April 3, three new episodes premiered in Mammoth Lakes, four days before the rest of the world will be privy to the epsiodes when they show on Animal Planet beginning April 7.

The shows aired at the local Mammoth Lakes Art Center to a full house. Mammoth Lakes Town Councilmember John Eastman gave the opening remarks and introduced Eric Schotz, CEO of LMNO, the production company for The Bear Whisperer series. Schotz talked a bit about the background of the show and then began the first expisode. The audience roared with laughter throughout the 42 minutes.

After a brief intermission, the next episode, which chronicled the life and death of the infamous Blondie, put the audience in a more somber mood. As the lights came back on after the episode, Schotz and bear whisperer Steve Searles made their way to the front of the room for a Question and Answer period.

Searles, who had proofed the scripts but had not been allowed to view the footage prior to that night, was asked what he thought about the much-anticipated "Blondie" episode. He admitted that it was just as heavy as he had expected.

Schotz and Searles took turns answering questions. When Schotz was asked directly what it was like to work with Searles, he answered jokingly, "he's a total diva."

After the Q&A, the third episode was shown, which featured the younger bears of Mammoth and the trouble they caused in the summer of 2010, including the well-known "bear-bite" incident.

For more on Eric Schotz, check out The Sheet newspaper's interview from last week.

Episode one of "Bear Whisperer Returns" airs on April 7 at 10 p.m. on Animal Planet. Episodes two and three air on April 14 and 21, respectively.

Photo: Searles and Schotz in the limelight at Mammoth's premiere of Bear Whisperer Returns. (Photo: Lara Kirkner)


The Bear Whisperer's Mammoth Premiere

steveandbearLucky Mammoth locals can catch new episodes of "The Bear Whisperer" before they air on Animal Planet! This Sunday, April 3, the Mammoth Lakes Art Center will host a special Mammoth showing of new episodes of "The Bear Whisperer," which document Mammoth's Wildlife Specialist Steve Searles' work with local bears.

The showing begins at 7 p.m. and tickets are only $20. All proceeds go to support the arts at MLAC. LMNO's Executive Producer Eric Schotz will be on hand along with Searles for a Q&A session. LMNO is the production company that worked on the show.

The shows are scheduled to air on Animal Planet April 7, 14, and 21.

Also, watch for an upcoming interview with Searles in the LA Times.


Catch new episodes of The Bear Whisperer before they air on Animal Planet (Photo courtesy John Jopson)


Upcoming Episodes Receive National Attention

Business Wire, The Wall Street Journal, MSNBC, the list continues to grow for all the national media getting involved in the discussion of the upcoming series debut of The Bear Whisperer.

This week the national media picked up what those of you visiting this site already knew: that Steve Searles will return to your living rooms on April 7 in the series debut of The Bear Whisperer. Two more episodes will follow on April 14 and 21, all airing at 10 p.m. (9 Central) on Animal Planet.

Check out the story posted on Business Wire and The Wall Street Journal, and watch the video posted at



New Episodes of "The Bear Whisperer" coming this April!

bearsleeping2The wait is almost over for those who’ve been anticipating the first full season of The Bear Whisperer. At least three new episodes will air this spring, beginning April 7.

LMNO, the production company for The Bear Whisperer, announced that the show will make its series debut on April 7 at 10 p.m. (9 Central) on Animal Planet. The first show is titled “Big, Bad, Bold.” There will be at least two more shows, the second titled “You Bad Bear,” and the third “Breaking and Entering.” These will air on April 14 and 21, respectively.

The three-part series, a follow-up to last year's extremely popular two-hour special, follows Mammoth’s Wildlife Specialist Steve Searles as he manages the bear population in Mammoth Lakes, California.

Show one covers the largest bears of the lot, like Ace and Half-Nose, that often battle Steve for dominance. In the lineup, one bear gets cranky when he’s woken up while a second, badly wounded bear forces Steve to make a heart-wrenching decision. All of this on top of another massive bear that gives Steve his most dangerous challenge yet.

Show two highlights the little guys, the cubs, who give Steve just as much a run for his money as the older, seasoned bears. One bear makes a scene at a local outdoor mall filled with people, while another breaks into a home. Finally, one bear’s life hangs in the balance after rocking the town with a rare and horrifying situation.

The third episode is centered on one of Mammoth’s most well-known bears, Blondie. Steve tries to work with this bear who is no stranger to trouble. After disappearing last year shortly after finding herself on a shoot-to-kill list, she returns this year with a cub. Steve tries to change her behavior before she leads the cub down the wrong path as well, but when the human world literally crushes Blondie’s world, the bear gets into even more trouble than before. This time when she ends up back on a “shoot to kill” list, her luck runs out.

While you count down the days to watch Steve Searles and the Mammoth bears, keep following all of The Bear Whisperer happenings here at or visit The Bear Whisperer’s Facebook page

You can also follow The Bear Whisperer on Twitter @TheBearW!

The Bear Whisperer became wildly successful after its two-hour premiere in January 2010. Since then, Animal Planet and LMNO Productions have continued to follow and film Steve in his interactions with the bears. A dramatic lineup is expected in April when The Bear Whisperer returns again for a new season.

For more background information on the two-hour premiere, check out LMNO's press release from 2010.

--Photo Courtesy John Jopson--





What a Bear Can Do to Your Home

bearbreakinThis photo is an example of the type of chaos all of us involved with The Bear Whisperer hope to avoid. It was taken last summer in the Mammoth Lakes Basin, where Steve does not have jurisdiction like he does in the Town of Mammoth Lakes. While Steve often patrols the Lakes Basin, he is unable to take action when he sees a bear wreaking havoc. He is not allowed to discharge a firearm outside of the boundaries of the Town of Mammoth Lakes, which is why scenes like this can often occur.

Currently, authorities are trying to work out other methods of hazing that Steve could use outside of the Town's limits that don't involve firearms and would therefore allow Steve to work in these areas. (When Steve fires his rubber bullets, he is using a firearm).

The land in the Lakes Basin is operated by the Forest Service, which is governed by rules other than those used inside the Town limits. Only a sworn officer is allowed to use a firearm, of which Steve is not.

Last summer, the Lakes Basin experienced an unusually high volume of break-ins that were attributed to one bear. The bear ended up being Blondie, the female that made headlines in the summer of 2009 for breaking into homes within the confines of the Town, but had disappeared when a depredation permit was issued for her. Steve spent a lot of time trying to change her ways while she was in Town, but even he was frustrated with her at the time of her disappearance. She reappeared in the summer of 2010 and was unable to avoid the heavy hand of fate when a second depredation permit, this time pulled by a homeowner in the Lakes Basin, was issued for her. She had started her break-in habits again and raided dozens of homes throughout the course of the summer. She was ultimately put down by an officer of the Mammoth Lakes Police Department.

A depredation permit is issued by the Department of Fish and Game as the last step in a series of steps when trying to correct a bear's behavior.

According to DFG's website, "In the third category, a bear causes real property damage to a dwelling(s), structure(s), vehicle(s), apiaries, etc., or is a repeat offender (the bear has been previously captured or hazed by DFG employees). If the damage is minor and there are no other previous reports of damage the first action is implementation of reasonable corrective measures to remove attractants as outlined for the second category. Corrective measures must be made prior to, or in addition to, issuing a depredation permit. When a bear has caused extensive or chronic damage to private property (such as livestock killed or injured, or entered into a home or cabin), repeated damage where corrective or bear-proofing efforts have failed, etc., DFG issues a depredation permit."

*Editor's Note: The damage in this photo was not caused by Blondie, but is meant to be used as an example for the type of damage she, and other bears with her same habits, can cause.                                                          


Bears Tales of 2010


Much like the stories of the “old days” when people in Mammoth would purposely leave dumpster lids open and trash lying around hoping to catch a glimpse, and a picture, of a bear, the tales of 2010 made a permanent mark on Mammoth's history.

People, as well as bears, goofed up a bit last year, and some people who had wreaked a little havoc in years prior were given punishment for their trangressions. The situations were dealt with somewhat emotionally, since residents of Mammoth are quite fond of their Ursus americanus, and there was always room for improvement, but overall, as Searles would say, "I'm proud of my community."


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