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PROTECTING THE GRIZZLY

There remains no more iconic species in the wild than the grizzly bear. The very definition of wildness is to hike and explore within the lands of the grizzly. Yet, once again, we are confronted with a magnificent animal that reproduces slowly and demands even more protection; yet, lawmakers want to turn it into a target. We have lost sight of the value of a species, what that animal must deal with, its joy, its pain, and how it tries to exist. Grizzly bears have been hunted, trapped, and poisoned, and if it were not for Yellowstone, they might have perished in the lower 48 states.

Today’s population is beginning to increase and is not yet up to the population numbers needed for delisting. Yet Montana, Wyoming and Idaho are pushing hard to start a hunting season on the state symbol of Montana. It is sheer madness propagated by trophy hunting interests, livestock growers, and outfitters. Governor Gianforte has made it one of his highest goals.

There should never be a time to hunt or trap grizzlies-period. Trappers testified because they fantasize about trapping and killing a grizzly; this is the sickness that pervades the trapping community. SB-295 intended to get this killing spree underway. The bill’s passage ignored sound science and was primarily driven by ranchers who want the right to kill grizzly bears, much as they do coyotes. Creating such a precedent will result in the senseless killing of many bears and continues a push to open a hunting season, which must be stopped. There is no reason to allow the hunting of this magnificent animal.

Key Points:

  • Grizzly bears reproduce very slowly.

  • Public lands grazing is responsible for killing too many bears.

  • Grizzly bears are suffering habitat loss and an increase in motorized and other forms of human-related recreation.

  • Whitebark pines are one of their key food sources, yet in the last 20 years, more than a quarter of the trees were lost to disease and fire, the direct result of climate change.

  • The use of non-lethal methods for grizzlies is what is needed, not a death sentence.

 

There should never be a hunting season for these vital apex predators.

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