Striking the Right Balance — Updated

How you can help bring grizzly bears back to the North Cascades.

You probably don’t know it, but you have the power to fix a problem that has persisted for decades. Since 1975, concerted efforts have been taken by organizations and agencies like the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, to restore the grizzly bear population in the lower 48 that was once estimated to exceed 50,000 individuals. After decades of recovery efforts for other grizzly bear populations like the one in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, focus is turning towards recovering the quickly disappearing North Cascades Ecosystem (NCE) grizzly bear population. It’s just in the nick of time, too. Scientists estimate only 10 grizzly bears remain. Here’s the rub: without you telling the National Park Service (the Service) to take swift action, grizzly bears in the Pacific Northwest will go extinct.

How did they disappear?

The NCE is 6.3 million acres of expansive wilderness, untouched by most people due to its rugged terrain and designated wilderness and roadless areas. Considering its wild state, we know that grizzly bears have not been displaced because we invaded their terrain. Put simply, they are on the brink of extinction because we allowed unchecked trapping and hunting of the species. The last known grizzly bear hunted in the NCE was shot and killed in 1967. Since then, we’ve waited over four decades to see if the remaining bears could naturally re-establish themselves to sustainable levels. Given their excruciatingly slow reproductive rate and isolation from populations in the West and Canada, it’s no surprise that they need our help to fix the problem we created.

What you can do about it Right Now

The mistakes of the past are now our opportunity to shine in the present. You can act now to bring grizzlies back from the comfort of your keyboard. The Service has proposed four recovery strategies and they need you to tell them which one to use. You read that correctly, you have the power to tell them how to move forward. Visit the Service’s website to enter your comment in support of Incremental Restoration (or Alternative C), with a small amendment. Read on to learn more about what that means.

A Conservation Perspective

Defenders will submit comments in favor of one of the four proposed strategies— “Incremental Restoration,” also referred to as “Alternative C,” because it strikes the best balance between the needs of people and bears. The basics of Incremental Restoration allow the Service to ‘augment’ (add to) the current population by transporting a founding population of 25 grizzly bears to the NCE. Augmentation would happen slowly, over a 10-year period, and bears would only be chosen from healthy populations that already thrive on a diet of 70-85% vegetation like berries, grasses, and roots. This is a great start, but a population of 25 bears is still very small and vulnerable to extinction.  The Service would not meet its overall goal of 200 bears for another 60-100 years. Even if they started tomorrow, grizzly bears may not recover until 2117! To ensure the population grows and does not suffer any setbacks, we propose that the Service strengthen the Incremental Restoration plan by allowing wildlife managers to release additional grizzly bears, if needed, at the standard rate of 5-7 per year after the founding population is established. You can use this exact language when submitting your comment.

Augmentation Works! Just Ask Grizzlies in Montana!

Chris Morgan, acclaimed documentary filmmaker and ecologist, just released a short film entitled Time for the Grizzly? that documents the science behind the on-going augmentation of grizzlies to the Cabinet mountains. Because of augmentation, “data indicate(s) the Cabinet Mountains population has increased by 2–4 fold” (Kasworm 2016). But similar to the North Cascades, Morgan discovered that some people in the community sharply opposed grizzly recovery out of fear of the unknown. Augmentation became possible after local outreach efforts around grizzly bears and how people can co-exist with them.

Watch Jeff Bridges talk about the North Cascades grizzly hear and why he hopes the bear abides with Chris Morgan.

Showing support for grizzly bear recovery, by submitting your public comment in favor of augmentation to the NCE, helps counter fear-based opposition and is extremely important in moving recovery forward.

You’ve got this!

Ultimately, this is a test of our values. We don’t wake up every day with an opportunity to put our values into practice, but this is that day! Do we value biodiversity, intact ecosystems, and making space for a species to coexist across our shared landscape? Most importantly, can we take time to practice our values? If you answered ‘yes,’ I now pass the baton to you. You have until March 14th now have until April 28th 11:59 PM PST to get all your friends and family to submit a comment in favor of Incremental Restoration (or Alternative C), with the amendment, to ensure the National Park Service knows the public supports a robust augmentation action. If you don’t, who will?

To learn more about our field work and other projects, sign up for our emails where you will get all the latest news and action alerts to support wildlife.

17 Responses to “Striking the Right Balance — Updated”

  1. Jessica

    This misguided abuse of power is despicable and evil. When will this horror stop? When they all go extinct? Shame on you. Grow a heart before you do irreversible damage & before your families get your karma.

  2. Linda Hinch

    If China could bring back the panda from the brink of extinction, the rest of the world has no excuse for not saving our wildlife of the world from extinction. It is our inherent duty as stewards of this earth to protect ALL animal life.

  3. melinda vanbeek

    Please conserve the grizzly populations and habitat. It is essential to the ecosystem that we improve there numbers.

  4. Ann Arthurs

    Please protect the grizzly bears in the Pacific Northwest …. we can not allow this animal go extinct ! We MUST protect them … please support incremental restoration for the grizzlys .

  5. mavis

    what the hell is wrong with people ,smarten the hell up ,this is wrong in so many ways , its SICK we should do this to people I think lets see how that works out ,leave them alone ,not happy till every one of them is gone ,SICK

  6. Paula Mosoff

    All animals have the right to live..What makes man the master of all?? Only our has to stop or all wildlife will disappear

  7. Koren Berrio

    I am in support of Incremental Restoration (or Alternative C) and saving the Grizzlies.

  8. Russ hughes

    Please save the Grizzlies we need them they are part of the ecosystem we need to have have new laws no more Trapping an poacher laws need to be enforced and more stricter punishment

  9. Jami Hopkins

    This is horrifying to hear that people let this happen . Stop the killing of these wonderful animals ! Very disturbing

  10. Daniela Kohl

    Grizzly bears are majestic symbols of the wild. Bears live in and use a variety of habitat types, playing important roles in each one. This makes them an “umbrella species,” meaning that when we protect them and their habitat we also protect many species. Grizzly bears can also help ecosystems by distributing seeds and nutrients through their scat, and occasionally regulating ungulate populations.

  11. Debbie McAlister

    No matter what God you serve, He put us all here for a very distinct reason. Each and every one of us has a job to perform. For example if the deer population is not controlled by wildlife, then things will go horribly wrong. They will wipe out all the vegetation and cause hundreds of thousands of other species of life to die from starvation. The wolves are here to keep the grazing population in check, without the wolves they go unchecked, and wreak havoc. I use the wolves as an example because I love them and help whenever I can to help preserve them. As with the wolf, the grizzly’s have a distinct reason of their own for being here. I emplore each and everyone of you to reach out and help whenever and wherever you can, that is our job, to take care of this earth and all that share it with us.
    Thank you,
    Debbie McAlister

  12. Patricia C. Rohan

    Our Creator charged humanity to care for His creation, His creatures, those of the land, sea and air…ALL of HIS CREATURES!!!! (Genius 1:28-30) we are to care for them, NOT KILL, ABUSE and use for monetary gain!!!!! Man has done a despicable job, instead of helping them, man has done ALL manner of EVIL to all the animal, even those of the sea and air……. Even our own country has moved again the animals, massacring wolves, thus changing the ecological balance which in turn has caused the Polar Bears to suffer immense hardship, including birth defects and starvation! This country is hell bent on destroying animals for monetary gain, these actions are nothing short of EVIL……..

  13. Leonie de Young

    Governments worldwide need to stop the mass extermination of our precious and valuable wildlife. I support Incremental Restoration (Option C) in order to save the grizzlies. God put all creatures on Earth for a very good reason, humans are totally messing up the balance in nature. PLEASE preserve these magnificent animals.

You May also be interested in