The first public meeting on reintroducing grizzly bears to the North Cascades was held on Monday in Cle Elum. It gathered more than 100 people who voiced their opinion on the matter. This meeting was the first one in eight which were scheduled across Washington.
The government came with a few proposals for the recovery of grizzly bears in the area. The options range from either doing nothing or less or more active relocating actions. Unfortunately, no matter how thorough are the efforts to repopulate the area with grizzlies, it might take up to a century until the specimens reach 200 in the North Cascades.
The meeting also gathered employees from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife and National Park Services who displayed informational posters and were willing to answer the questions of all people who showed interest in the matter.
Eric Rickerson, the state supervisor of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, declared that it was a pleasure to talk to those who showed concern and to try to convince the people of the importance of recovering the grizzly bear populations.
A proposal was made decades ago that suggested to bring grizzly bears from Montana or Canada. This spiced intense debates among people. Many of them were worried about their safety when they go out in the wilderness. For example, those who go hiking in the area declared that they already had to deal with cougars, bobcats, or wolves, and they would be relieved if no other animal was added on the list.
Also, some thought that a reintroduction of grizzlies would affect their livestock populations. On top of this, they feared that they might have a negative impact on the wildlife. After all, grizzly bears are fierce predators.
However, there are people who do not oppose the repopulation proposal. The release of grizzlies back into the North Cascades would be made slowly, so they should not have a huge impact on the landscape.
It is estimated that there are only five bears left in the North Cascades. Excessive hunting and isolation caused the grizzly populations to drop. This is why biologist and environment officials urge people to take action or, in short time, grizzly bears will go extinct in the area.
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