By Justin Stakes
United States -(Ammoland.com)- For Doug Seus, coming face to face with fearsome predators is all in a day’s work for the 71 year old professional animal trainer.
Doug Seus is one of Hollywood’s premier animal trainers and owner of Wasatch Rocky Mountain Wildlife Inc. and the Vital Ground Foundation.
Seus is an exceptionally unique outdoorsman who has turned his adorned love and passion for wildlife into a legendary career. He’s one of the few and rare individuals in our world that has demonstrated his inherently unique ability to interact with these majestic creatures in such an incredible way.
Established in 1973, Wasatch Rocky Mountain Wildlife Inc. was created by Doug and Lynne Seus who continued to follow their hearts’ dream of dedicating their lives to the training and care of wildlife. The couple initially began the operation with cats, dogs, wolves and horses, they continued to expand their wildlife skills and knowledge to include wildlife stars such as bobcats, coyotes, cougars, deer, eagles, foxes, hawks, raccoons, and skunks.
But no animal would become a true star while capturing the hearts of millions quite like the legendary actor Bart the Bear.
Since his birth on January 19, 1977, Bart the Bear was destined to live out his 23 1/2 years traversing the world to become one of Hollywood’s most beloved wildlife actors in the film industry. An Alaskan Brown Bear born in Baltimore, Maryland, Bart came to Doug and Lynne Seus as a five-pound cub; quickly growing over 1,500 pounds while standing 9 1/2 feet tall.
Bart enjoyed the spotlight as much as he adorned the cheers and applause he would receive from his fellow crew members on set.
Bart the Bear’s legacy goes well beyond his career in the film industry. He was host for the Animal Cancer Center located at Colorado State University in addition to Ambassador of the Vital Ground Foundation; a conservation group dedicated to grizzly bear as well as wildlife conservation in honor of Bart. Vital Ground has continued to protect threatened wildlife habitats located throughout Alaska, British Columbia, Idaho, and Montana.
Bart the Bear died of cancer surrounded by his family and friends in Utah on May 10, 2000 during the filming of the documentary Growing Up Grizzly, which was presented by Brad Pitt.
With Bart’s legacy at an end, the Seus family was blessed with two orphaned cubs that miraculously survived alone for two days in Anchorage, Alaska. The Alaska Fish and Game rescued the deprived cubs after their mother was shot in Paxson, Alaska; 200 miles north of Anchorage.
The cubs continue to follow in Bart’s legendary footsteps, bring enjoyment to the lives and hearts of millions of viewers from across the world through their roles in film, television and even live performances. The female cub was named Honeybumb, while the male cub; Bart The Bear II, was honored with Bart’s legacy and namesake.
Bart the Bear’s Feature Films
- Windwalker; Pacific International Enterprises, 1980
- Clan of the Cave Bear; Warner Brothers, 1984
- The Bear; Tri Star Renn Productions, 1987
- The Great Outdoors; Universal, 1988
- Giant of Thunder Mountain; American Happenings, 1990
- The Great American West; IMAX, 1991
- White Fang; Disney, 1992
- On Deadly Ground; Warner Brothers, 1993
- Walking Thunder, 1993
- Yellowstone; IMAX, 1994
- Legends of the Fall; Tri Star, 1995
- The Edge; 20th Century Fox, 1996
- Meet the Deedles; Disney, 1997
Bart the Bear’s Television Movies, Mini-Series and Episodes
- The Gambler; CBS TV, 1980
- Down the Long Hills; Disney, 1986
- Lost in the Barrens, 1990
- McKenna; CBS, 1994
- Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, 1994
- Young Riders, episode “The Decoy”; MGM TV, 1995
- Lonesome Dove, Episode “Deadman’s Walk”; ABC TV, 1996
- Les Amants de Rivière Rouge; French TV mini-series, 1996
- Academy Awards; Host, 1998
Bart the Bear’s Documentaries
- The Predators; National Geographic Education, 1980
- National Geographic “The Grizzlies,” 1986
- National Audubon Society, “Grizzly & Man: Uneasy Truce,” 1988
- Today Show, 1989
- Komo TV, “River of Bears,” 1995
- Entertainment Tonight, 1995
- Inside Edition, 1996
- Jack Hanna’s “Animal Adventures,” 1996
- Discovery Electric, “Wild on the Set,” 1996
- “Ordinary Extraordinary,” 1996
- Nova Green Umbrella, “Animal Minds,” 1997
- CNN Impact, “Bearly Acting,” 1997
- Movie Magic, “Animals on the Rampage,” 1997
- National Geographic Explorer, 1997
- CBS’ 48 Hours, “Animal Smarts,” 1999
Bart has an impressive cinematic pedigree having worked with stars such as Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt. Film directors Jean Jacques Annaud and Lee Tamahori have even said to have called Bart the “John Wayne of Bears.”
“About 95% of what you see in the film is a real bear, even though we had a major anamatronic bear built for the film, it never worked properly. The real bear’s name is Bart. He’s 19 years old. He’s the same one from the Jean-Jacques Annaud film The Bear. He’s not friendly, they never are. But he’s not aggressive, either. He just 1400 pounds of muscle and bone and very dangerous. You’re not allowed near him…It’s a wonderful sort of professional relationship. He comes out of his trailer, goes to his mark, does the take and goes back to his trailer. He’s the John Wayne of bears, just phenomenal! He and his trainer have this symbiotic relationship that’s almost perverse. He has to stand in for Hopkins or Baldwin, or whoever else is in the scene with Bart,” stated Lee Tamahori during a discussion with Alex Simon and Venice Magazine.
Since reaching new heights in animal performance with Bart’s starring role in the 1989 classic, The Bear, Doug and Lynne Seus began to further their specialization and expertise in kodiak bears, grizzly bears, and wolves.
Wildlife training is an art form that requires the trainers to have immense patience, compassion and understanding when it comes to the animals. The entire Seus family; including their daughter Sausha and son Jed, pride themselves with providing Hollywood and the film industry with their most highly skilled and trained animal stars. Doug and Lynne Seus provide Hollywood and the film industry with bears and wolves that are exceedingly capable of not only unique behaviors and commands, but also portrayal and characterization.
Doug currently resides at home with his wife Lynee Seus along with his three star bears Bart The Bear II, Honeybump, and Tank where they train their animals in such an efficacious manner that when it comes time to shoot a scene it is shot successfully the first time around. Saving Doug and the film director he is working with hours of production time; one of the inherent qualities of Wasatch Rocky Mountain Wildlife that portrays them as one of the most cost effective and professional animal companies available.
Wasatch Rocky Mountain Wildlife has provided talented animal stars for the film industry for over 40 years. Their cinematic history includes twenty-five major motion pictures and hundreds of commercials, documentaries, and Tv Shows including An Unfinished Life, Dr. Do Little 2, Evan Almighty, Legends of the Fall, Into the Wild, The Great Outdoors, We Bought a Zoo, Without a Paddle , Zookeeper, and their most notable appearance with Bart The Bear II in HBO’s Game of Thrones television series.
Article by Justin Stakes
Copyright @ J. Stakes Photography
Justin Stakes is a Freelance Photographer and Journalist dealing with a variety of different subjects that interest and inspire his love for the great outdoors and more. Justin is an avid outdoor enthusiast and geek with a photographic style that is a mixture of photojournalism and fine art. He has won three Photo Show Competitions throughout his education and has even been exhibited in the Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art.