Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Environmental Studies

Department or School/College

Environmental Studies Program

Committee Chair

Len Broberg

Commitee Members

Sean O'Brien, Tom Roy


bear, bear biology, black bear, Charles Jonkel, documentary, film, grizzly bear, history of bear biology, history of wildife biology, polar bear, wildlife biology


University of Montana


The Last Standing Bear: The life and work of Charles Jonkel is a documentary film about Dr. Charles Jonkel, a pioneer of polar bear biology, and his contributions to science, conservation and community. Jonkel was among the first scientists to capture and handle black bears and polar bears, was instrumental in developing international conservation and management strategies for polar bears, and has influenced generations of biologists, conservationists, activists, and students through his scientific research, teaching, advocacy, and character. The Last Standing Bear attempts to interpret Jonkel’s contribution to science, conservation, and community. Using direct cinema, the film examines Jonkel’s life and work through his own words, interviews with colleagues, students, friends, and family, and archival 16mm and Super‐8 film footage of Jonkel’s polar bear research with the Canadian Wildlife Service. While Jonkel’s accomplishments are wide and varied, the film presents his life and work in relation to his affinity with the polar bear. This thesis presents the script, an analysis of the film and its process, and the opening and closing scenes of the film.



© Copyright 2010 Shannon Kelly Donahue