Monday, January 02, 2017

Editorial: Grizzly bears come roaring back. Can humans — Trump & Co. included — make room?

By 1975, with only about 800 left in the continental United States, they were classified as endangered by the federal government. They had been killed off in many places where once they were numerous, including the Dakotas, California and Arizona. The threat of extinction loomed.

Preservation efforts made all the difference. Since then, grizzlies have rebounded, increasing their number to about 1,800. People have come to value their existence. Tourists from all over the world travel to national parks in hopes of seeing them in the wild.

But the comeback, welcome as it is, carries risks to both bear and human. Most people want grizzlies in Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks. But no one wants a 600-pound apex predator on the patio. As the a

nimals multiply, they show up more often in populated places, sometimes with regrettable results.
"Grizzlies make for troublesome neighbors and lousy houseguests," writes Aaron Teasdale in Sierra Magazine. "The giant animals are routinely spotted chowing on orchard fruits and scavenging pet food and garbage. They're omnivores that like to eat many of the same things people do — chickens and sheep, for example."

...The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed removing the Yellowstone grizzlies from the threatened and endangered species list, which would open the way to trophy hunting outside the park — an idea that has drawn objections from the park superintendent, who fears it could damage the bear's long-term prospects.

President-elect Donald Trump's sons are both avid big-game hunters. His choice to run the Interior Department, Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., has voted to remove wolves, lynx and sage grouse from the endangered species list. So the grizzly may face new threats in the next four years.

We hope Trump and Zinke appreciate that many Americans welcome the comebacks that a few species — wolves, mountain lions, eagles and these ursine marvels — have made, and don't want that progress squandered. This is a key environmental issue on which the new administration will prove itself a good steward of nature or a handmaiden of big agriculture and other industries that often are at odds with conservation.

We can expect to see more of this from the media and enviro groups.  Banding together to incite the public and ward off any changes to the Endangered Species Act, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, NEPA and so on.

In this case its a large urban newspaper, the Chicago Tribune, which wants to foist the grizzly bear on those living in rural areas, all because they "welcome the comeback" of this and other species.  You would think they'd be concerned about the 762 murders in Chicago last year, more than NYC and LA combined, and the largest spike from one year to the next in 60 years. But no, they are more worried about the grizzly and we can expect more of the same from this sector.  

Are you ready to "make room" to accomodate the Chicago Tribune? Is Chicago making room for Aedes albopictus – also known as the Asian tiger mosquito? Don't they "welcome" this critter? 

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