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Filmmaker Documenting Kermode Bears Missing in the Woods of British Columbia

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"...he just wanted to get out into the woods and do something special."

(Image via Tumblr)

Warren "Andrew" Sill, a 26-year-old documentary filmmaker from Ohio, was on the lookout for bears in British Columbia in early July as part of his latest project. Now, authorities are searching the woods for him as his car hasn't moved nor has he been heard from since July 6.

Sill was filming a documentary on kermode bears, a group of white-coated black bears that inhabit the area. Police in New Hazelton, British Columbia, say Sill's vehicle remains parked at the entrance of the Whiskey Creek Trail near Gull Creek. Royal Canadian Mounted Police Const. Lesley Smith said Monday that authorities are concerned because Sill is not an avid hiker.

Police say Sill told family and friends he would be exploring the area for four or five days, but that his parents say they haven't spoken to him since July 4.

“The concern is that this young man was out there and not equipped for the terrain,” Smith said according to Canada's Metro News. “It could be a case of him not being able to get his bearing right. In that case, being dehydrated will affect his wellbeing. He’d be disoriented if he hasn’t kept up with fluids and nutrients."

Still, it wouldn't be unheard of for Sill to be found alive. Only a couple days ago, an autistic man was found -- although severely malnourished -- after being lost in the Utah desert for three weeks.

The National Post has more from Sill's sister and the last communications that were heard from the filmmaker:

“He’s just a really curious, inquisitive person — especially when it comes to nature,” said his sister, Maureen Sill, who last saw Mr. Sill in June when he came to Chicago for a five day visit.

While there, Mr. Sill dropped by the Lincoln Park Zoo to get his first close-up black bear shots. “First of many black bear photos. Baby steps,” he wrote on a Facebook account created to document the trip. Mr. Sill’s ultimate target, the spirit bear, or Kermode bear, is a rare subspecies of black bear with an all-white coat that is found primarily in the B.C. coastal regions.

After Chicago, Mr. Sill’s next stop was the Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary. Located outside Orr, Minnesota — just 30 kilometers from the Ontario border — the sanctuary is the site of the United States’ only spirit bear sighting. A photo posted on June 19 depicts a full-sized black bear photographed from above.

“600 lb male black bear sending me up a tree haha,” reads the caption.

“He had a laptop, camera equipment, everything … he just wanted to get out into the woods and do something special,” said Peter Lamusga, who hosted Mr. Sill for four days in Orr. The two had met on Couchsurfing.org, a social networking site that connects travellers with local hosts. “He’s a real nice kid.”

According to Metro News, search dogs and volunteers are scouring the woods for Sill. Smith said the search will continue until the teams feel they've covered all their options.

Maureen set up a Tumblr site to help spread the word on the Web about the search for her brother.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

(H/T: Daily Mail)

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