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A Primer

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This primer, which can be downloaded in pdf format by clicking here or on the image to the right, offers background and context for people who want to protect grizzlies. We often hear from advocates: “How can I help save grizzlies?” We hope here to provide guidance and advice that is informed by our years of experience trying to do precisely that.

Importantly, no one action will succeed by itself. Because the management landscape is complex, protecting bears depends on many complementary actions. Federal, state, and local managers, as well as elected officials and even private individuals, shape the conservation arena and determine whether grizzlies live or die. And each individual operates in a different context, within a particular legal framework.

At its most basic, recovering grizzly bear populations requires that we keep grizzlies alive and protect habitat they depend on. Advancing these goals depends upon caring people speaking up. By voicing your concerns — via social media or, better yet, directly to your elected officials — you send a message that you care about grizzlies and wild nature. Don’t forget: officials often do difficult things only because their constituents make them.  

on Grizzly Bear Advocacy


Effecting positive change depends on where you are from, your interests and passion, and which landscapes you personally know. Each of us also has a different temperament. For those who are comfortable with conflict, you may opt to engage directly with government decision processes and with managers in state and federal agencies. For those who don’t like to be involved directly in contentious situations, support of groups working to protect private lands or promote coexistence might be a better option. The point is to find an area, arena, or issue that suits your personality and style. Grizzly bear conservation is a huge canvas, with plenty of room for each of us to make our mark.


Also, where you are from matters. If you live outside states in the Northern Rockies, engaging with state wildlife managers has less of an impact than if you engage with managers in federal agencies such as the Fish and Wildlife Service or Forest Service. Federal managers answer to all American citizens, not just to those living in a particular state.

With these considerations in mind, there are four arenas within which you can help grizzlies, each of which we describe below.

But, before we get into potential action items, we thought it might be beneficial to briefly describe the domains over which different government agencies and managers have authority, along with our take on how well each agency is doing its job.

Clicking on one of the boxes below will take you take a page that provides more detail on each arena overseen by different agencies or actors with different authorities and what you can do...

Being an Effective Advocate

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