Target: Daniel M. Ashe, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Goal: Demand that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) do more to restore grizzly bears to their historic range
Before they were hunted, trapped, and poisoned to near extinction, grizzly bears roamed the American West in great numbers. Scientists estimate that in the early-1800s there were around 50,000 grizzlies in the continental U.S., living in a diversity of habitats between the Great Plains and the Pacific Ocean. By 1975, that number had been reduced to just 1,800 individual bears in the entire contiguous states. The Center for Biological Diversity is now threatening to sue the U.S. Interior Department for failing to restore this iconic species to its native habitat.
The conservation organization hopes to use the bear’s status under the Endangered Species Act to force federal officials to update the grizzly bear recovery plan, which dates back to 1993. Though grizzlies have been restored to a few areas in Yellowstone National Park and along the northern Continental Divide, their numbers remain tiny and their habitats too small and fragmented to support a viable long-term population. In its petition to the FWS, the director of the center’s endangered species program stated that, “the science is clear…if we’re serious about recovering grizzly bears, we need more populations around the West and more connections between them so they don’t fall prey to inbreeding and so they have a chance of adapting to a warming world.” The center has identified several suitable grizzly habitats, including the Grand Canyon, the Sierra Nevadas, and parts of Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is “working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.” Restoring the grizzly to its rightful place as a keystone predator of the American West would benefit a huge diversity of animals and their habitats, and contribute to the conservation of American heritage for all her citizens. Sign this petition to support the recovery and protection of grizzly bears in the continental U.S.
Dear Director Ashe,
According to the Center for Biological Diversity, the FWS is obligated under provisions of the Endangered Species Act to update and enhance its efforts to restore grizzly bears to their historic range. With just a few isolated populations roaming disconnected wilderness areas, the species is not well-prepared to adapt to a warming world and the ecological upheaval that entails.
We were responsible for the grizzly’s near-extinction, and we are now responsible for making sure that their populations are managed for long-term viability. Please support the restoration of an iconic American species to its native habitat.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Bauer, Erwin and Peggy, via Wikimedia Commons