Grizzlies are coming back to the North Cascades
Whether or not Washington and US Wildlife officials agree to bring back the grizzly population, grizzlies will eventually end up re-establishing themselves in the North Cascades. Why?
Canada already has the ball rolling Grizzly re-introduction - on the Canadian side of the North Cascades.
It is First Nations in Canada (the Okanagan Nation Alliance) that is considering translocation of bears North of the border, separate from the government of British Columbia.
The re-introduction of grizzly bears could occur as early as 2024.
'Some of those bears will certainly find their way south and we will have them in this ecosystem. So the question is not so much if we want to have bears here because bears will probably find their way here, it’s what tools do we want to have to coexist with them' - Jason Ransom, Wildlife Program Supervisor for the North Cascades National Park (via KING 5 Seattle)
A Washington-based US Congressman opposes the Grizzly re-introduction
KPQ News recently reported that U.S. Representative Dan Newhouse opposes the re-introduction of the grizzlies in the North Cascade Mountains. He said the reintroduction of the “apex predators” would pose a threat to both humans and livestock.
Newhouse went on to quote a 1995 state law that “would prohibit transplanting or introducing grizzly bears into Washington.”
Federal Wildlife officials countered by stating - “the law only applies to any state efforts and that it directs the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to ‘fully participate in all discussions and negotiations with federal … agencies relating to grizzly bear management ….’ (KPQ NEWS)
Where will the possible Canadian re-introduction happen in 2024?
The North Cascades Ecosystem involves almost 10,000 square miles on the American side of the border and almost 4,000 square miles on the Canadian side of the border - where grizzly re-introduction could take place, as early as next spring.
"Some of those bears will certainly find their way south (into the U.S.) and we will have them in this ecosystem. So the question is not so much if we want to have bears here because bears will probably find their way here, it’s what tools do we want to have to coexist with them," - Jason Ransom, Wildlife Program Supervisor for the North Cascades National Park (via KING 5 Seattle)
Jason Ransom said US and Canadian officials are in contact, but would not make or change a decision based on the other country.
What would happen if Grizzlies killed Washington Livestock?
The current rules in place (known as a "4(d) rule") actually only allow an "authorized Federal, State, or Tribal authority" to take a bear for any reason except "in self-defense" or "in defense of others."
When were Grizzlies Part of the North Cascades?
Grizzly bears have been part of the Cascades for thousands of years. This is until the mid-1800s, when grizzlies were hunted and most of the population was killed off by 1860.
Only two grizzly bears were identified in the North Cascades ecosystem in British Columbia in the 2000s. The last time a grizzly bear was confirmed on the U.S. side of the North Cascades was in 1996.
Can Washington citizens have a say before any official decision is made?
Public comment on grizzly reintroduction is open through November 13. CLICK THIS LINK to make your opinion known.
The Department of Interior will then take the community's feedback and decide by next spring.
INFO: KING 5 Seattle, Newsradio 560 KPQ, National Park Service, Andrew LaValle (Public Affairs Specialist - Washington Ecological Services U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service)
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