Thursday, February 02, 2017

Plan would reintroduce grizzlies to Cascades

Wildlife biologists celebrated last June when they captured a grizzly bear in Washington for the first time in more than 30 years. After it was studied, the bear was released back into rural Pend Oreille County, equipped with a satellite-linked radio collar expected to offer valuable insight into the habits and range of the state’s most powerful predators. Now a proposal by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service would see more grizzlies in Washington, specifically to the Cascade Mountains where large numbers once roamed. Under the proposal, bears from Montana and British Columbia would be brought here and released to live in 9,800-square miles of remote forests covering portions of seven counties stretching from the Canadian border south to Interstate 90. Predictably, not everyone is happy with the idea. “Most of the public that we talked to are very much against this,” Chelan County Commissioner Doug England said. “People that don’t use the area think it would be great.” Others note that people and grizzlies exist together in other parts of the country. The wildlife service’s plan lays out four alternatives for bringing grizzly bears back to the north Cascades with the goal of eventually reaching a population of 200. Biologists estimate the region could carry about 280 grizzlies...more

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