Right now, the US Fish and Wildlife Service is considering an option to set aside 110,000 square miles for 300-400 Grizzly Bears in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado.
If the US Fish and Wildlife Service decides to move forward with the reintroduction (Europe recently reintroduced Grizzlies into the Alps) it’ll be a long process. Environmental reviews, hearings, red tape, god-awful lawyers, and more.
There are some tough questions out there on this grizzly topic:
“I can understand people wanting to see them here. But is it really suitable, given that California has nearly 40 million people?” – Eric Loft, chief of wildlife for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife
California Grizzly Bears (Ursus arctos californicus), or California Golden Bears, were once ubiquitous in California. There were Grizzlies everywhere in California except for the Mojave desert. The California Girzzly Bear is reported to have been the largest of all Grizzly Bears with one specimen being killed in a town outside San Diego (Valley Center) that stood 8 feet tall and weighed 2,200 lbs in 1866.
It’s estimated that there were around 10,000 grizzlies in California when European settlers arrived. That’s a helluva lotta Griz. To make a fair comparison, British Columbia, which is 6 times the size of California, had about 25,000 grizzlies when the Euros showed up. It’s thought that California had the highest concentration of Grizzly bears on Earth.
Canadian’s and Alaskans have been dealing with Grizzly Bears for decades. Of course the have to take extreme measure and travel outdoors with bear spray and guns – something Californians aren’t exactly accustom to.
“Those people are orders of magnitude tougher than we are,” he said. “They have incorporated in their worldview a certain measure of risk that most Californians would be horrified by.” – Dave Graber, former regional chief scientist for the National Park Service
He’s right. Californians aren’t psychologically ready to deal with Grizzly Bears. But, the gears were here first. So, what should we do?
“If there was place to put them, I would be arguing very strongly to put them there. I’m sorry there are so many people here.” – Dave Graber, former regional chief scientist for the National Park Service