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Meet Casey Anderson -- and his best friend, an 800-pound bear

May 3, 2009 |  1:20 pm

Brutus, an 800-pound grizzly bear, is an unlikely best friend to Casey Anderson (a much-smaller-than-800-pound human).  But best friends they apparently are -- in fact, Brutus, who was raised from a cub by Anderson, even served as best man at the "Expedition Grizzly" host's wedding to actress Missi Pyle last fall.  Good Morning America reported on a recent episode:

Anderson met Brutus seven years ago in a wildlife park where the then-cub was born. The preserve suffered from overpopulation, and Brutus was destined to remain in captivity or be euthanized. His odds didn't look good.

The East Helena, Mont., native couldn't let that happen to Brutus, who he thought looked like a "fuzzy Twinkie." From the beginning he said something special existed between the two.

So he built the Montana Grizzly Encounter in Bozeman, Mont., especially for Brutus, so he could grow up "being a bear."

Although Brutus spends most of his time at the Montana reserve, he does travel for the occasional film or commercial shoot.  Anderson says this is all in the name of educating the public about bears, adding in an interview with National Geographic that "he loves the change of scenery and the human attention. If he ever becomes uncomfortable doing it, then we will stop. He's the boss."

When asked about the inevitable "Grizzly Man" comparisons, Anderson is quick to point out differences between himself and the ill-fated Timothy Treadwell.  "We are two men with the same passion," he told National Geographic.  "But we practice that passion in a very different way. Wild bears are not particularly fond of humans, and for good reason. So imposing myself upon wild bears seems, to me, very foolish." 

Anderson's "Expedition Grizzly" airs next on National Geographic at 9 p.m. tonight. 

--Lindsay Barnett

Video: National Geographic via YouTube

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