yellowstone grizzlies

yellowstone grizzlies - Grizzly bears numbered in the tens...

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Grizzly bears numbered in the tens of thousands in the early decades of the pioneering of the Americas. Since then, their numbers have fallen drastically to, by some estimates, no more than 1,200. Even more alarming, these bears which previously lived on several million acres of land now find themselves occupying as little as 1 to 2 percent of their previous habitat. In response, these bears were placed under the protection of the Endangered Species Act in July of 1975 (Hagarty). Under this act, the grizzlies were protected in two distinct ways: the first protected the bears physically from being, “harass[ed], harm[ed], pursue[d], hunt[ed], [shot], wound[ed], kill[ed], trap[ed], capture[d], or collect[ed]”, according to the text of the act (Hagarty). The second protected specifically their habitat from development. While there is debate about removing the first tier of protection from the bears with environments staunchly split about the appropriateness of the timing, many dissenters are relieved by the fact that bears living in the Yellowstone protected area, dubbed the “recovery zone” – which encompasses 6 million acres of land – would still fall under federal protection despite concerns that the one-third of the bear population that resides outside of this area in the three surrounding states of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming would be subject to only specific state protections that may or may not be enacted (Stuckey). However, a concern about the removal of the second tier of protection is even greater. Experts fear that this one-third that lives outside the recovery area would be subjected to development that was formerly restricted due to the bear’s status. According to one expert’s concerns, once the bears are delisted, “the Bush Administration really has nothing to slow down oil and gas development and timber harvest in those areas” (“Uproar Over Grizzlies”). As a result, those involved in the process are still starkly divided in the debate of whether or not it is
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yet timely to remove the bear’s federal status as an endangered species and about mounting concerns that their removal would green light the administration’s potentially dangerous gas and oil exploits. When the Yellowstone grizzly bears were first placed on the endangered species list, they numbered no more than 200 to 250 in the region surrounding Yellowstone in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. In the past decade, their annual growth rate has risen to as high as 7 percent as their population in these areas grew to number more than 600 (Hagarty). It is believed that the bear’s initial fall into endangered status was as a result of uncontrolled hunting and its subsequent recovery thanks to barring the killing of the grizzlies. While this number is nowhere near what existed before the rapid development of man in the Americas, many experts consider the growth so far to be a true
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This essay was uploaded on 04/16/2008 for the course BILD 3 taught by Professor Wills during the Spring '07 term at UCSD.

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yellowstone grizzlies - Grizzly bears numbered in the tens...

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