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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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Thursday, August 10, 2017

In 2014, THE CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY petitioned the U.S. Fish&Wildlife Service to finish the job of restoring Grizzlies to the sections of its western USA historical habitat that could still harbor a viable breeding population...............To simply take the Griz off the Endangered Species List because of the successful re-population of the Greater Yellowstone region, runs smack in the face of the hard and fast science that unequivocally shows that without corridors to other Griz populations in the Bitterroots of Montana and the Yaak/Selkirk in norther Montana and Washington State running into Canada, you are creating a "zoo-like" region for the bears that will ultimately cost them significant population decline(via hunting, disease and in-breeding....................In the CENTER'S own words----"Since the grizzly bear was liysted as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act  (ESA) in 1975, the Service has pursued a fragmented approach to grizzly bear recovery that  does not adhere to the law’s intention that listed species be recovered in all significant portions  of their range"............... "Instead, the Service has developed recovery strategies for six populations occupying a relatively small portion of the grizzly bear’s historic range, including the Greater  Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE), the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE), the Cabinet‐ Yaak Ecosystem (CYE), the Selkirk Ecosystem (SE), North Cascades Ecosystem (NCE) and Selway‐ Bitterroot Ecosystem (SBE), and has, for the most part, only enacted protections or carried out  on‐the‐ground recovery efforts for the first four"..................... "The Service has failed to develop recovery strategies for ecosystems that still contain substantial and sufficient suitable habitat, which is not only an abdication of the Service’s  responsibilities under the Endangered Species Act as a legal matter, but leaves grizzly bears endangered across significant portions of their range as a biological fact"................. "Hence, we hereby  petition the Service to finally meet the full scope of its obligations under section 4 of the ESA by  revising its 1993 recovery plan to include all significant remaining areas of suitable habitat  across the grizzly bear’s native range in the western U.S., in addition to those populations that  are already covered in the 1993 plan, including at least the Gila/Mogollon complex in Arizona  and New Mexico, the Grand Canyon in Arizona, the Sierra Nevada in California, the Uinta  Mountains in Utah, and areas of southern Utah"

‘Connectivity’ necessary for grizzly bear survival

In extreme Northwest Montana in the Yaak River Valley, a population of approximately 20 grizzly bears survives, but these bears are isolated from the Glacier Park bears, 50 miles to the east and from another small bear population in northern Washington. There are bears in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, just south of Glacier National Park but the vast wilderness in central Idaho and the corridor in western Montana are devoid of bears. At the present time, there is no connectivity with the population of grizzlies in Yellowstone, the Tetons and the Wind River Range to the south.

Historical Grizzly range in the USA and 
when last Bears were killed off by us

Nonetheless, on Aug. 1, the grizzly bear was delisted by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and management was turned over to the states who will undoubtedly be pressured to issue hunting permits for grizzlies. The hunting of grizzlies can only be for “sport” since they are never hunted for their meat.

Advocates for delisting contend that grizzlies have made a “remarkable recovery” and can be removed from the endangered species list without concern for their survivability. That argument, however, is suspect and ignores the importance of population connectivity in order to achieve genetic diversity and strength among the currently divided populations. Simply put, the several isolated populations of grizzlies should be energized to inter-mingle before there are any efforts to limit their population growth in any areas where they are now present. There needs to be connectivity along the Continental Divide to ensure genetic diversity.

As you can see, Grizzlies ruled Western
North America prior to European Colonization circa
AD 1500

The larger a population of interbreeding animals, the lesser the danger of inbreeding that can, in time, lead to the demise of an isolated group. The smaller an isolated group, the greater the danger that that group will develop deleterious genes that will lead to the demise of the population. Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and Washington must resist the hunting of grizzlies until meaningful connectivity can be established.

Outside of Yellowstone region, perhaps no more
than 30 Griz remain in the Cabinet Yaak/Selkirk
and North Cascades region in the USA

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