by WenOut Staff

Should grizzly bears return to the North Cascades?

A debate is currently taking place about whether the grizzly bear, once a resident of the state, should be reintroduced to it one-time habitat in the North Cascades. It is estimated there are less than 10 elusive grizzlies roaming the North Cascades at this time. Wildlife biologists believe the North Cascades can support a population of at least 200 grizzlies.

The National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have released a draft Environmental Impact Statement detailing four options for grizzly restoration. A 60-day public-comment period accepting input on those proposals is open through March 14, 2017. The issue in contentious and the comment period is important in helping these agencies gauge the support for or against reintroducing these bears in  Washington State.

Friends of the North Cascades Grizzly Bear Coalition are advocating for Alternative C. Under Alternative C, wildlife scientists would slowly release grizzlies into remote areas of North Cascades National Park and other nearby public lands over five to ten years, with an initial goal of re-introducing 25 bears.

To ensure the success of Alternative C, the North Cascades Grizzly Bear Coalition supports adding the number of bears needed to maintain genetic diversity and to allow for positive population growth, while also relying on bear reproduction to make progress towards grizzly recovery over the course of 60-100 years. The Coalition believes this strategy uses best science practices to restore a healthy population of bears to the North Cascades.

To give your comments for or against bear reintroduction click here.

Below is a pro-bear video advocating for reintroduction and discussing the advantages of this strategy. Even if you’re not sure you favor the reintroduction,  take a look and consider its arguments.

See for more information on how to show support of a slow of repopulating grizzlies in the North Cascades.

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