The Tragic Story Of Amie Huguenard, “Grizzly Man,” Timothy Treadwell’s Doomed Girlfriend
Amie Huguenard and her partner, Timothy Treadwell, spent three years in Katmai National Park studying and recording grizzly bears, until they were both killed by a brown bear.
Timothy Treadwell, a man variously perceived as a reckless freak or a naive idealist, became a minor celebrity in the summer of 2005 thanks to Werner Herzog’s Grizzly Man. Amie Huguenard, the woman who went with Treadwell on his last, fatal trip, was often seen in the background of the documentary.
For its laser focus on Treadwell, an environmentalist with a problematic background who spent his summers with the bears of Alaska’s Katmai National Park, the film became one of Herzog’s most acclaimed works. Not one, least of all himself, was startled by his inevitable death in their jaws.
But, according to different stories, the bear that bit and ate Treadwell also killed Amie Huguenard, who was Treadwell’s girlfriend, friend, and maybe even an easy mark.
Huguenard’s story has been mostly overlooked in the years since their fate was revealed, but hers is a heartbreaking cautionary tale and one of promise cut short.
How “Grizzly Man” Timothy Treadwell Met Amie Huguenard?
Amie Huguenard was born on October 23, 1965, in Buffalo, New York. She became interested in science and medicine while working as a doctor’s assistant in Colorado. She also became interested in the environment and spent a lot of her free time hiking and climbing.
She read a book called “Among Grizzlies” during this time in 1997, in which the author claimed to have found comfort from drug addiction in the company of Alaska’s brown bears. Timothy Treadwell was the author’s name.
Amie Huguenard reached out to Treadwell soon after, and the two began a nearly six-year romance. Soon, she went to Alaska to spend the summers with him in Katmai National Park, which is full of grizzlies.
Huguenard proved to be a capable companion during her annual trips north with Treadwell. Her Katmai, with its 12,000 square kilometers of forest and around 2,000 brown bears, was a good fit for her trekking and survival skills.
She went to Malibu, California, to live with him in January 2003, accepting a job as a physician’s assistant at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
At Katmai National Park, Learning To Love The Grizzly Bears
Amie Huguenard was initially concerned about the apex predators, which may weigh up to 1,000 pounds. On the other hand, Treadwell had a charismatic love for bears that calmed her fears. They were nothing but “party animals,” he once told David Letterman.
During their summer visits, the bears were mostly calm. They spent most of their days sleeping and feeding Huguenard, which made him feel safe around them.Despite the fact that she and Treadwell were anything but.
“Amie had a softness about her that came from her naiveté.” One of Amie’s old boyfriends, Stephen Bunch, wrote after her death: “It was simple to persuade her of things that were not fully true at times.”
However, I always felt I could trust her because she showed you the same absolute trust.
Amie Huguenard also witnessed Treadwell’s conflicts with the National Park Service. Park rangers were concerned that Treadwell was endangering himself and others by approaching the bears so close and that he was continuing to engage in unsafe camping techniques in his pursuit of poachers.
And while the couple had avoided danger on their two previous excursions with the bears before the summer of 2003, their third season with the bears would prove tragically different.
Huguenard and Treadwell were sliding deeper into some major mistakes. Even though Amie Huguenard and Timothy Treadwell had lived in Alaska for years and learned a lot about wildlife, they thought that the grizzlies were becoming “their” animals.
Huguenard added, “Tim would honestly die if it meant these animals could live.”
Amie Huguenard pays for Treadwell’s blunder
The couple prepared to return to California as the summer of 2003 came to an end. After arguing with a ticket agent about the price of their tickets, Treadwell and Amie Huguenard decided to stay in Katmai for another week.
Fall is a particularly dangerous season to be around bears of any species, as they may turn aggressive in their search for additional food to supplement their fat reserves in preparation for hibernation. Huguenard wrote on October 1 about a bear fight over depleting food resources, saying that “watching them claw, bite, and growl at each other brought all of my anxieties pouring back.”
Huguenard then wrote in her journal on Sunday, October 5, that “there’s a sensation in the air that makes me a little anxious for some reason.” In some ways, even Timothy has seemed a little strange. ” Treadwell spoke with a buddy via satellite phone and said the bears were not a concern.
That night, everything changed. Desperate for food, an adult male bear approached their camp and attacked Treadwell. A video camera captured their final words, with Treadwell shouting that he was “being slaughtered out here” as they mauled him to death. Huguenard pushed him to “Play dead!” before urging him to fight back from their tent.
Her screams were the last sounds recorded on the six-minute tape before she was taken away and killed by the grizzly bear.
On October 6, Treadwell’s friend Willy Fulton came by the campsite to fetch him and Huguenard up the next morning. Instead, he saw a flattened tent and a “quite horrible looking bear” huddled over a body. The bear, which weighed over half a ton, was shot and killed by park rangers who were called to the site.
They discovered Treadwell’s severed skull and arm near the tent. Amie Huguenard’s body was the one on which the bear had been eating. Other human body parts were found in the stomach of the bear they’d shot. And it’s never been explained why Treadwell opted to return to Katmai so late in the year, or why Huguenard chose to accompany him.
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