Tuesday, June 24, 2014

CBD pushes plan to reintroduce grizzly bears in Southwest

The Center for Biological Diversity this week petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to work to return grizzly bears to the Grand Canyon, the Gila/Mogollon complex and other areas of the Southwest. The petition cited 110,000 square miles of potential bear habitat - in Arizona, New Mexico, the Sierra Nevada in California and Utah's Uinta Mountains - that could allow the introduction of up to 4,000 grizzly bears in the West. "This animal is very much revered," said Noah Greenwald, the center's endangered species director. "They are an iconic symbol of wilderness and our past." At least one critic called the plan a waste of taxpayer dollars for a proposal that is "playing God." But Greenwald said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service needs to revise its 1993 grizzly bear recovery plan, which he said is outdated.  Gavin Shire, a Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman, would only say that the agency has received the center's petition and is reviewing its content. Greenwald said he expects to hear back from the agency within six months, but said that the overall process of reintroducing bears would be an ongoing one that could take years...more

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