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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Sunday, December 28, 2014

THE CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY'S Andrea Santarsiere making a sound case for why the Selway/Bitteroot ecosystem is a must link for Grizzlies if indeed the species is to become fully recovered in the Northern Rockies------Had President Bush(the younger) not cancelled the USFW planned rewilding of this region in AD 2000, it is possible that the natural reproduction cycle of the Griz would have the Bitteroots marching toward a population of 300-600 animals in 2015................The Bitteroots are the next "step up" the Rockies for connectivity with the Greater Yellowstone population and the small number of Bears in the Yaak

Nowhere in the West is there likely any more remote and suitable habitat for grizzly bears than the millions of acres centered around the Selway-Bitterroot and the Frank Church-River of No Return wilderness areas.
So it's hardly surprising that over the past 30 years, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service scientists have repeatedly pointed out how essential this area is for sustainable grizzly bear recovery. Yet the stunning expanse of terrain that remains some of the most difficult to access wilderness remaining in the Lower 48 states is still not home to a resident grizzly bear population.
Way back in 1982 the agency's scientists recognized the Selway-Bitterroot, which researchers believe can support between 300 and 600 grizzlies, as key among six potential grizzly bear recovery areas in connecting scattered bear populations, particularly the totally isolated population in Yellowstone National Park.

But several decades later, the Selway-Bitterroot stands alone as the only established recovery area without any documented resident grizzly bears. That's why I submitted a legal petition to the Fish and Wildlife Service last week calling for the agency to update a grizzly reintroduction rule finalized in 2000, but never implemented, to reintroduce grizzlies to this important area.
The science detailing the need to return grizzly bears to the Selway-Bitterroot is clear: As isolated populations are threatened not only by genetic depression and inbreeding, but by the ever-mounting pressures of climate change and human population growth, grizzlies in the Lower 48 face an uncertain future. A growing body of research suggests the best way to ensure their long-term survival is to return them to greater portions of their historic range.
There is no question some will insist the region has too many people now to support more grizzlies. But much of the core of this area is completely uninhabited and extremely difficult to access. And perhaps more importantly, in recent decades we've learned much about how to live side-by-side with these important top predators representative of healthy, sustainable ecosystems.
More than 3 million people visit Yellowstone National Park every year, yet incidents of grizzly bear attacks are extremely low. According to the National Park Service, the chances of being injured by a bear in Yellowstone are approximately 1 in 2.1 million - substantially lower than of being injured in a car accident in the park.
There's no doubt that living with grizzlies requires people, particularly backcountry visitors, to take precautions, such as hiking in groups, making noise and carrying bear spray, which have been proved to be extremely effective in deterring a startled bear.
As demonstrated in Yellowstone and many other areas, it can be done. In Alaska, for example, people live side-by-side with grizzly bears with very few problems.
In the U.S., grizzlies occupy only 4 percent of their historic range in the Lower 48 states, primarily in and around Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks. Surviving in five isolated locations, the long-term survival of the bear is at risk without an effort to reconnect these populations.
We have space for people and grizzlies. It's time to embrace our legal and moral duty to help make sure these remarkable bears are around for centuries to come by bringing them home to the great wild stretches of the Selway-Bitterroot.
Andrea Santarsiere is a staff attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity's Victor, Idaho office, where her work focuses on protecting carnivores.

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