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Among the Bears: Raising Orphaned Cubs in the Wild Library Binding – June 5, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-1435297852 ISBN-10: 1435297857 Edition: Reprint

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--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Library Binding: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Paw Prints 2008-06-05; Reprint edition (June 5, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1435297857
  • ISBN-13: 978-1435297852
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,726,353 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

When naturalist Kilham was asked to take in two orphaned black bear cubs, the conventional wisdom was that he would end up with 200-pound brutes too dependent to leave home. So Kilham decided to try his own unconventional method--he raised them in their natural habitat, surrounded by the wild bear-filled woods of New Hampshire. As their bear mother, he was given an unprecedented look into the lives of bears and what he observed turns bear stereotypes on their head. Black bears exhibit behaviors thought to be found only in humans and great apes, such as an intricate system of communication and cooperation, insight, planning, deception, and even ethics, like fair play, empathy, and altruism (qualities not found in apes). Kilham, who has now raised 26 cubs, is an intrepid bear mom, and a humble and delightful storyteller. This is an irresistible story of some of the most endearing rogues ever encountered. --Lesley Reed --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Like any expectant parent, naturalist Kilham anticipated challenges in raising the newborns who joined his family in 1993. But as the "mother" to orphaned black bear twin cubs, he had no Dr. Spock to turn to for advice. A licensed wildlife rehabilitator, Kilham wanted to raise the cubs to live successfully in the wild, but had to rely largely on his own common sense to achieve this goal. So he let the cubs teach him, by closely observing and noting their behavior as they rambled together in New Hampshire's northern woods. This engrossing account, which Kilham wrote with the help of naturalist writer Gray, is both an affecting story of interspecies friendship and a surprising refutation of ursine stereotypes. To date, Kilham has raised 26 black bears; the experience has convinced him that, contrary to popular belief, these large carnivores are highly social and are as intelligent as the great apes; they can teach, learn and even deceive. Black bears, Kilham insists, can be "remorseful, empathetic, fearful, selfish, altruistic, joyful and deceitful" and have developed "mechanisms for solving disputes and demonstrating need." With the human population encroaching ever deeper into bear territory, however, human ignorance can create "problem" bears who raid backyard bird feeders or garbage cans. Having lost several of his young bears to bullets from such property owners, Kilham urges people to attempt a better understanding of an animal he finds "closely related" to humans. This important book is sure to be a milestone in the study of animal behavior. 8-page color insert not seen by PW. National author tour.

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
88%
4 star
8%
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See all 25 customer reviews
This book is a down-to-earth, easy to read, approachable and informative narrative.
FYI
He told us about the book, and I have since learned of many others who have bought and read it.
Lorraine P. Zigman
I, personally, envy Mr. Kilham his experience with the bears and the writing of this book.
Sloop John B

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Adam A. Crane on September 16, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book is basically a primary source about black bears, a subject that, as the author points out, has received spotty attention. "Among the Bears" partially remedies this neglect: it is rich in anecdote, modest yet persuasive in analyses.
This book has many small, satisfying pleasures to it, not the least of which is the idea of a large, stereotypically manly guy like Kilham being a mother to these bears. And he is an amazing mother, patient, wise and tireless. He always lends his bears an ear, literally (for suckling). Another is the reader learns along with Kilham, who continues to turn over the behaviors of his bears in his head, often coming to explanations only after thinking and experimenting. Finally, his physical encounters with bears are entertaining and, I think, instructive about how bears (and humans) become at ease with each other.
The book is very plain in language. As his story progressed, the content of the ideas was plenty engaging, and more than made up for any lack of style.
Telling the history of his interactions with bears, including an unusually large male interested in Squirty, one of the female bears he has raised, Killham ventures prescriptive advice about how to handle a bear encounter only at the end of the book. "Hold your ground, stay calm, maintain eye contact, and let the situation resolve itself. It will." (245)
Throughout the book, Kilham has relevant and undogmatic insights about hunting and hunters.
A small complaint: A bibliography, or more simply--in the character of this straightforward, unpretentious book--a short list of suggested readings would have been welcome. However, the basic but thorough index is excellent.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By zhivago on July 11, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful book! Kilham does for bears what Jane
Goodhall did for primates. He lives among them and and in
so doing gains valuable insights into their abilities and
behaviors. He discovers bears to be highly intelligent
individuals, but with strong social connections, communicating
over distance and time by scent, sound, body language, and
deliberate trail signs. If you have any interest at all in
bears or in social lives of animals, buy this book!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Gayle E Snyder on June 3, 2002
Format: Hardcover
If you love animals, if you are interested in their behavior, or if you just enjoy a great read.......BUY THIS BOOK! Ben Kilham raised orphaned black bear cubs as a momma bear would. He successfully returned them to the wild and maintained a relationship with them, even after one had cubs of her own! This is no pet bear story, but a look at how one man changed the way we look at a species, while retaining a respect for their wild stature. Black bears are sensitive, intelligent and often altruistic, as Ben Kilham shows. He makes us realize that there are things to be learned about animals, especially black bears and their behavior, that cannot be taken lightly. We humans are not the only intelligent and emotional beings on this planet!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 5, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Ben Kilham's observations about bears are wonderfully told - funny, sensitive and insightful. Not a naturalist by trade - he's a gunsmith of all things! - he brings a fascinating perspective to the development of these animals. Highly recommended
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bird on December 24, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just finished reading Among the Bears and I think Benjamin did a great job at describing the bears body language, and his explenation of what their sounds and gestures meant are superb,,,I have seen a lot of bears in the last 40 years and have seen several of these gestures..This book starts out a little slow but soon picks up and then I could not stop reading, This book does tell it like it really is in the bears world good and bad
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Laurie F. Craig on November 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
Kilham's experience and Gray's writing offer excellent insight into bears' instinctive knowledge by describing how young orphaned cubs in Kilham's care learn how to become wild bears. I reread the book immediately after concluding it so I could take full advantage its information. I recommend Among the Bears to anyone who deals with these amazing animals professionally or informally. Motivation, communication, and dispersal are well covered in a truly understandable and engrossing manner.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By K. Johnsen on March 12, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm only half way through the book but I can tell you it is difficult to put down. As a wildlife Rehabilitator I find Benjamin Kilham's book informative yet fun to read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By FYI TOP 1000 REVIEWER on August 27, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We lived along the Canadian border - very remote country - where there were more bears than people. This book is a down-to-earth, easy to read, approachable and informative narrative. Of course, I wish there were even more photos of the bears, especially the one shown in the National Geographic special of Kilham taking a nap on his couch with a small bear beside him - perfection! We also are dyslexic, and relate very much to his story. Sometimes, dyslexics see the world differently, in their own special, creative way. Good for Kilham! I'm sorry to see so much bear habitat encroached upon by housing developments - a sad situation for bears, one of our most precious and remarkable native Americans. I also suggest Kilham's newest book: Out on a Limb: What Black Bears Have Taught Me about Intelligence and Intuition.
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