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Grizzly bears haven’t been in this national park since 1996: why authorities want them back

(NEXSTAR) – Grizzly bears, an endangered species protected in 48 contiguous states, have not been spotted in some of their natural Pacific Northwest territories since the late 1990s. Federal environmental agencies hope to once again begin efforts to restore the population.

Grizzly bears are mainly found Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, the northeastern corners of Washington, and even Canada. Bears previously covered much larger territories spanning the western United States and most of Canada, central Mexico, and most of Alaska. US Fish & Wildlife Service.

Prior to 1800, 18 states, from Washington to Nevada in the south to Minnesota and Texas in the west, were thought to have 50,000 grizzly bears. By 1975, the grizzly bear population had swelled to at least 1,900, after numbers had fallen to the 700-800 range. report.

The population increase is largely due to human efforts across six ‘recovery zones’ deemed large enough and sufficiently resourced to help restore the grizzly bear population. These zones span Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Canada.

Now, the FWS and the National Park Service hope to resume efforts originally terminated by the Department of the Interior in 2020 to return grizzly bears to Washington’s North Cascades, an area that has not been reported since 1996. increase. (However, the grizzly Taken by a climber in Cascade in 2011).

Why would the authorities want to reintroduce a species that has been eradicated from this area?

They are an important part of ecosystems.

“Grizzly bears in the North Cascades ecosystem are considered a keystone species and play an important role in biodiversity,” U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman Andrew Lavalle told Nexstar. . “They are also notorious seed dispersers, dispersing their seeds both in and out of elevation. They aerate the soil, giving new plants a chance to thrive.

Grizzly bears adapt their diet based on what is available in their environment. FWSThey are known to eat over 260 species of food, including mammals, fish (live and dead), insects, earthworms, and plants. Grizzly bears have been known to eat human food, trash, grasses, berries, seeds, and fungi as well.

Grizzly bears are omnivores and primarily eat plants, but they have been known to attack livestock, causing concern among farmers. Addressing this concern, FWS and NPS said they expected fewer attacks on livestock during periods of low bear populations. Their plan is to increase the North Cascade population to 200.

“Using the U.S. Department of the Interior formula based on grizzly bear numbers and numbers,
Of the cattle and sheep in the ecosystem, about 3 livestock can be expected.
Once the grizzly bear population reaches 200, the number of plunders per year (1 cow, 2 sheep) Frequently Asked Questions Shared with the planning process.They continued, “Various non-lethal and prophylactic suppression options Installation of electric fences, storage of food, etc.

LaValle says black bears already live in the area, and the same precautions that black bears take apply to grizzly bears.

Federal wildlife authorities will also consider adding a special designation known as the 10(j) experimental population. It is used “for groups of plants and animals that are reintroduced into areas geographically isolated from other populations of that species.” Under the 10(j) designation, species are treated as endangered. This means that FWS can enact management programs and special population regulations.

For example, FWS Rule 10(j) Legalized “incidental harm to ferrets that occurs as a result of legitimate activities, including traditional management and land use.”

According to LaValle, “10(j) experimental population designations will provide additional tools to reduce conflict should restoration occur.”

Before the grizzly bears return to the North Cascades, at least with the help of NPS and FWS, planning process should be deployed. The plan is now in step 2 of 9.

Part of the process is asking members of the public to comment on the plan.virtual public meeting schedule in the next three weeks.

https://fox40.com/news/national-and-world-news/grizzly-bears-havent-been-in-this-national-park-since-1996-why-officials-want-them-back/ Grizzly bears haven’t been in this national park since 1996: why authorities want them back

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