Palins Got Too Close to Protected Bears: Conservationist

Just a day after reality show debuts, the drama arrives

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 15, 2010 12:03 PM CST

(Newser) – A leading Alaska conservationist calls Sarah Palin's Alaska "a travesty"—and not because it's, well, a reality show starring Sarah Palin. He claims the former guv got too close to protected brown bears in last night's premiere, and says she was "clearly irresponsible." A clip from the premiere shows Palin and hubby Todd having an up-close-and-personal moment with some bears (including, yes, mama bears) while fishing. "It's clear from the video that she violated the guidelines" of Wolverine Creek, says the director of the Alaska Wildlife Alliance.

The state's department of fish and game requires people in boats to stay at least 30 feet away from bears. He argues that the clip shows the Palins getting closer than that, thereby "encouraging the violation of important guidelines." A rep from the fish and game department, however, is not convinced they actually violated any guidelines, the Guardian reports, since they did not approach the bears as they were feeding. However, he notes, "Some people may say you shouldn't even try to fish when a bear is in the area and I wouldn't argue with that." Click here to find out how many people tuned in to her show's premiere.

Did Sarah Palin get too close to this bear? One conservationist thinks so.
Did Sarah Palin get too close to this bear? One conservationist thinks so.   (YouTube)
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The bear clip...   (TLC)

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Fishing in close proximity to bears may, in general, not send an appropriate message to large numbers of people that are not experienced at fishing in bear country.
- Joe Meehan, of the wildlife conservation division of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game

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