(PRWEB) July 02, 2008
Kennesaw, GA (PRWEB) July 2, 2008 -- Privately-held development company Ferrumar has discovered that George Putnam, the future husband of aviator Amelia Earhart (who vanished in the Pacific Ocean 71 years ago today), directed the killing of a polar bear and capture of her cubs on behalf of the Manhattan-based American Museum of Natural History (AMNH).
A feature movie about Earhart is now being filmed, with Oscar winner Hilary Swank playing the famous pilot. Avalon Pictures is financing the project that is co-produced by Kevin Hyman and Lydia Dean Pilcher. Ron Bass wrote the script for this biopic which Mira Nair is directing. Swank and Bass are executive producers.
Nobel Prize winner (and former Presidential candidate) Al Gore describes the modern plight of polar bears in speeches about Earth's growing climate and environmental crises, as well as in his 2007 Academy Award-winning documentary film "An Inconvenient Truth".
Polar Bear Killed By Arrows
Information about the mother polar bear's slow ocean death appeared in the Carl Dunrud autobiography Let's Go! 85 Years of Adventure (published in 1998 by WordsWorth of Cody, Wyoming. Phone: +1.307.587.3932). Dunrud had been a dude ranch cowboy and in 1925 was a Yellowstone Park Ranger when Putnam recruited him to join the AMNH-sponsored Greenland expedition.
As the expedition's leader, Putman chartered the Arctic schooner Effie M. Morrissey skippered by famous mariner and Arctic explorer Robert A. Bartlett. Bartlett had been Captain on the exploration ship Roosevelt used by Commander Robert E. Peary during the latter's 1909 attempt to reach the North Pole.
During Putnam's 1926 expedition, while 20 miles off Greenland's coast, the Morrissey's crew spotted a mother polar bear and her two cubs on an ice floe. As the bears swam away Putnam ordered crewmember Art Young to kill the mother by bow and arrow, then tasked Dunrud to capture the cubs by roping. In his book Dunrud said the mother's death "… was a sickening sight." The cubs were later sent to the Bronx Zoo.
Earhart and Dunrud Became Friends
In July 1934 George Putnam and 2nd wife Amelia Earhart visited Dunrud at his "Double Dee Ranch" in Wyoming. Earhart enjoyed the area so much she bought land nearby for a vacation cabin. It was halfway built when she disappeared on this day in 1937 while flying her airplane across the Pacific Ocean.
Due to Earhart's national and global popularity President Franklin Roosevelt immediately authorized the U.S. Navy to mount a massive air-and-sea search for the intrepid aviator. Despite efforts by thousands of military personnel aboard 9 ships and 66 aircraft no trace was ever found of Earhart, or her veteran former Pan Am navigator Fred Noonan, or her twin-engined plane. That multi-week search cost the U.S. government roughly US$ 60m in adjusted 2007 dollars.
Putnam's Character Flaws Surfaced Early
In the course of the 1926 Greenland expedition, the schooner Morrissey shipwrecked above the Arctic Circle on Northumberland Island. According to Dunrud's autobiography, during that ordeal Putnam twice abandoned his 13-year-old son David on shore alone. One time, when the youngster was ill, Putnam left him in order to explore the island by motor boat. That misjudgment nearly became fatal for both when Putnam subsequently misjudged a channel and his boat was nearly crushed against rocks by rough seas.
Putnam belonged to the family publishing dynasty G.P. Putnam's Sons and won fame for securing the lucrative publishing rights to Charles Lindbergh's 1927 book We. For decades he traded upon his extensive contacts among the rich and powerful in Hollywood, Wall Street and Washington D.C. It remains a mystery to this day why the wealthy and well-connected Putnam: 1) Never launched his own expedition to search for his missing wife; 2) Never helped two private efforts that were later suspiciously aborted; 3) Never joined a friend's secret (and U.S. government-sponsored) maritime reconnaissance mission to an island near where some people claimed Earhart's aircraft crashed and sank.
An Endangered Species At Last
In September 2007 the U.S. Geological Survey predicted that 2/3 of polar bears could be lost by 2050 due to melting sea ice (http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?id=1773). On May 14th 2008, after years of delay and forced by a recent Federal judge's order, U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne announced that the U.S. Government had listed polar bears under the Endangered Species Act (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/05/080514-polar-bears.html).
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