|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Wildlife biologists argue for reintroduction to augment Washington's dwindling grizzly bear populationBet you didn't know this: Washington has grizzlies. It just doesn't have many—the last time anyone spotted a genuine griz in the North Cascades was 15 years ago. While wildlife biologists think the population still exists, the members number probably less than 20. Surprising news, given that the area is remote enough to support astonishing recoveries for wolves, lynxes, and wolverines.
“We just don’t seem to pop up on the priority list,” Gaines says. “The delisting of grizzlies in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem is a hot-button issue, politically and biologically, because they’re trying to show good success for recovery efforts, so it’s a priority. And the idea of starting something new in the northwest without additional money is really difficult.”Despite reintroduction controversy elsewhere (lookin' at you, Yellowstone wolves) North Cascades superintendent Chip Jenkins thinks the idea is a good one:
“Grizzly bears symbolize our heritage, our history, where our country has come from, and the health of our ecosystems today,” says Chip Jenkins, North Cascades’ superintendent. “Ensuring a sustainable grizzly population in the North Cascades is not just a win for the bears, but a win for the American people, because it demonstrates our ability to act to bring the best of our heritage into the future.”So: More grizzlies in the Northwest. Would you support it?