Canadian filmmaker, author and naturalist known for his amazing studies of bear behaviour will guide guests to wildlife on the BC coast with Maple Leaf Adventures

Above is a video excerpt of Charlie in Bear Man of Kamchatka.

Above is a video of Great Bear Rainforest wildlife from a trip by journalist Ole Helmhausen on the Maple Leaf.

Travelers will get an opportunity to learn about BC’s spirit and grizzly bears from the Canadian naturalist that the BBC nicknamed the “bear man” in an international television special about his work.

Charlie Russell, whose books and films on living and interacting with grizzlies and spirit bears have showed fans the bears’ sociable side, will be the naturalist on an adventure cruise aboard the Canadian schooner Maple Leaf this year in the Great Bear Rainforest.

“We are thrilled to have Charlie aboard,” said Kevin Smith, the president of Maple Leaf Adventures and a senior bear guide himself. “Charlie did some of the first work here to bring widespread knowledge about spirit bears to Canadians, and his research with grizzlies coincides with what we are seeing on our trips in terms of the intelligence, tolerance, sociability and curiosity of bears when you don’t persecute them.”

Russell has had spirit and grizzly bears befriend him and initiate contact by gently touching him, in the Great Bear Rainforest and in Russia’s wild Kamchatka peninsula. He will share stories and findings with Maple Leaf guests, as they view the spirit and grizzly bears of the Great Bear Rainforest.

Maple Leaf Adventures, the company that operates the trip, developed its first Great Bear Rainforest adventure cruises in the early 1990s. Aboard the classic Canadian sailing ship Maple Leaf, the trips are multi-day journeys through the fjords and islands of the central and northern BC coast. Since hunting was halted in a number of valleys visited by the Maple Leaf, the bears have rewarded guests by allowing people to observe their daily rituals.

Wildlife viewing, natural history and cultural history are the focus. The company has been internationally recognized for the quality of its trips, rated as one of Canada’s seven “Best Travel Experiences” by Frommer’s Canada for over a decade.

“It will be great to explore that wonderful country again and enjoy that most of it still looks the same as it did when I first saw it fifty years ago,” said Charlie Russell. “I have many connecting stories that will link experiences we have with the bears and wolves we will see in their magnificent coastal surroundings with the privileged adventures that I have had with them all around the Pacific Rim. I am very much looking forward to being back.”

Charlie Russell is known for his groundbreaking research into the behaviour of wild bears when they are not persecuted by humans. His work started as a way to protect cattle on his ranch in Alberta and eventually lead to a multi-year project with spirit bears on Princess Royal Island (in the Great Bear Rainforest), and then an 11-year project in Kamchatka where he lived with both wild and adopted grizzly bears. He is featured in the BBC films Bear Man of Kamchatka and Edge of Eden, and has published the books Spirit Bear, Grizzly Heart and Grizzly Seasons.

“The two years I spent on Prince Royal Island gave me an opportunity to experiment with bears that had virtually no history with man,” said Russell. “It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to see how they would respond to people who demonstrated trustworthiness. The results were spectacular and led to my work in Russia where I wanted to see what trusting each other looked like with grizzlies as well.”

Maple Leaf Adventures Great Bear Rainforest Trips:

Prices are all inclusive except airfare

Information: or 1-888-599-5323 or +1-250-386-7245