Intelligent, resilient and resourceful, grizzly bears have fascinated us for thousands of years. With their human-like qualities, such as standing on hind legs, eating the same variety of foods as we do and fierce nurturing of young, grizzlies remind us of ourselves and our connections to the natural world. The Great Bear has long been a powerful symbol of renewal and transformation due to its re-emergence in spring from beneath the ground after a winter of seeming death.
At Grizzly Times, we seek to conserve and recover the grizzly bear by using the most precise and comprehensive science available. We look to expand and connect its wild refuges, as well as restore it to suitable habitat from which it was eliminated by settlers, while keeping it safe from ever-encroaching humans.
There are those who still see the grizzly as a threat or a trophy, but we believe it is our obligation to protect it.
This essay by Louisa Willcox tracks the inspiring shared journey of researchers and citizen scientists in their efforts to protect the West’s iconic and imperiled whitebark pine forests—a journey that led the Fish and Wildlife Service in 2020 to propose protections for this species under the Endangered Species Act. Whitebark pine forests are unique because they create and maintain the high-elevation ecosystems where they grow—sustaining healthy watersheds and species as diverse as 600-pound grizzly bears and tiny voles. But whitebark pine are imperiled because of warming temperatures, a nonnative fungal pathogen, and an unprecedented outbreak of native mountain pine beetles. In response to an outbreak of beetles in Greater Yellowstone that began during the early 2000s, a group of concerned citizens and scientists surveyed the entire ecosystem to document the health of these forests, spread the word about why they matter, and inform a petition to list whitebark pine under the Endangered Species Act. At this time of unprecedented divisiveness and self-centeredness, the Clan of the Whitebark Pine showed what can happen when a group pulls together to pursue a larger, altruistic purpose – none more noble than protecting these magnificent but endangered forests.
These timely essays by David Mattson use recent research into how people value wildlife to explore connections among values, hunting, state management, political orientations, geopolitics, and recent efforts by politicians from Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho to remove Endangered Species Act protections for grizzly bears in the contiguous United States. The essays concludes by emphasizing the extent to which management of both grizzly bears and wolves occurs in a highly toxic regional environment typified by wildlife managers who channel the interests of conservative politicians and non-Hispanic white hunters who prize the domination and lethal use of wild animals. This configuration, codified in state institutions of wildlife management, mirrors the recent political empowerment of those who seek to perpetuate the privileged social and political status of non-Hispanic white men to the detriment of women, people of color, Hispanics, and people with more inclusive worldviews--all of whom are also currently disenfranchised from state management of wildlife.