Grizzlies on the Recovery
In the last few weeks, there's been a fair amount of news about grizzly bears.
In September, a newly completed study of grizzly populations determined there many more bears in northwestern Montana than previously thought. According to the AP article, the U.S. Geological Survey determined there were 765 grizzly bears in northwestern Montana, up sharply from previous estimates of 250 to 350 bears. That's great news for recovery efforts, and could even result in the de-listing of those populations from the endangered species list.
The study even made it into presidential politics when candidate John McCain derided the study (which cost $4.8 million) as an example of pork barrel spending.
Regardless of your thoughts on that issue, it's great to see grizzly populations rebounding. Will the grizzly bear make a recovery in Washington and British Columbia, too? According to the organization Consevation Northwest, there are only about 25 grizzlies in the North Cascades of Washington and B.C. Grizzlies may be a recurring topic in the news in 2009 in Washington--the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife has funding to conduct a study regarding grizzly recovery next year.
On a related tangent, over at Sightline Institute's Daily Score blog, there's a link to a great video of remote camera footage of a mother grizzly and her cubs sparring with a wolf over an elk carcass in Montana. Now that wolves have been sighted in the North Cascades, it's not inconceivable that this sort of interaction might one day be seen in the Cascades.
By the way, Sightline is a great place to get the latest news on environmental issues affecting the Northwest. They're currently in the midst of an e-mail drive: if you sign up soon for their free e-newsletter, you'll be entered in a drawing to win a free eco-friendly trip to Vancouver B.C. Check it out here.