Dear Vital Ground community,
It is with great sadness that I share the news that our beloved ambassador, Bart the Bear II, passed away over the weekend. Bart died peacefully at home in Heber City, Utah, after a decline in his health this year. He was 21 years old.
Bart lived a supremely outsized life filled with the love and care of his trainers and lifelong companions, Vital Ground co-founders Doug and Lynne Seus. We know that many of you discovered Vital Ground and our conservation mission through Bart II and his predecessor, Bart the Bear. Whether his mighty presence captured you through film or in person, we are grateful for your connection to grizzlies and for Bart’s life and legacy as a conservation ambassador for his wild cousins.
Bart leaves behind a line of film credits to which any actor would aspire, from Into the Wild to Game of Thrones to his recent role in a highly popular ad for our partners at Kodiak Cakes. More importantly, he leaves an enormous legacy of grizzly bear conservation. During his two decades as a Vital Ground ambassador, Bart’s charisma helped conserve and enhance hundreds of thousands of acres of habitat for his fellow grizzlies and all the species that share their range, from elk and moose to bull trout, butterflies and plants.
Lynne Seus says, “Where the grizzly can walk, the Earth is healthy and whole.” Bart was a grizzly who walked the Earth with intelligence, power, grace and purpose. All of us who knew him were made more whole by his incomparable spirit. We will miss Bart greatly and his memory will inspire us as we work to ensure his massive footprint endures for future generations across the wild landscapes of grizzly country.
Ryan Lutey, Executive Director