What the People Say Has to Say About Grizzly Bears

What the Public Has to Say

Over the last 25 years, the public has had ten separate opportunities to comment on decisions affecting the future of grizzly bears, including the 1992 revised recovery plan, proposed delisting (twice), and a suite of other related state management and post-delisting management plans. In each comment process where the tally was calculated (all except Montana), the American public (and many from other countries) have weighed in clearly: 99% of a cumulative total of well over a million comments and petitions have said they want more habitat protected for bears, for isolated populations like Yellowstone’s to be re-connected to others in the US and Canada, and for improved coexistence practice – before delisting is contemplated. State and federal agencies have essentially turned a deaf ear to all but the tiny minority of those trophy hunters and ranchers who want to see grizzly bears hunted and killed in greater numbers.  

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In the last number of comments on delisting, several themes emerge about why the overwhelming majority of the public think that delisting is premature: These center around: 1. The need for better stewardship, including protecting our spiritual connections with bears, improving coexistence, and ensuring the opportunities for future generations to see bears in the wild; 2. The symbolic importance of grizzlies as icons of wilderness, our frontier past, and the ability of humans to restrain themselves so as to allow wild beings to thrive now and for future generations; and 3. The need to exercise caution and restraint in the face of uncertainty and rapid change, such as climate change.
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Here, we provide cool quotes from people – writers, Native Americans, and other deep thinkers on the topic of grizzly bears and our obligation to preserve them on the landscape. They all have a lot more to say on the topic than what I encapsulate here…
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