Bear with us: Grizzlies may be coming back to North Falls | Catch My Job

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“Some species gain when things change, some species lose when things change. The only way it all continues to function is to have the biodiversity that can land with that. You don’t want all your eggs in one basket, you want a lot of different eggs,” Ransom said.

Many species depend on grizzlies, making them a keystone species, a status also attributed to salmon and whitebark pine. They help other species survive in many ways, Ransom said. They are great at helping plants spread throughout the area and they aerate soil as they root for food, to name a few benefits of having them around.

Then there is the question: What exactly are we restoring the North Falls to? i? Ecosystems are constantly changing, which means that restoring them to their “natural state” is a subjective art, especially with climate change expected to affect so many ecosystems in so many ways. But given how significantly humans affected species after colonization, many scientists tend to use pre-colonial ecosystems as a baseline for restoration standards. Some serious advocates, such as the North Cascades Conservation Council, give moral weight to the restoration.

“We have a bad record of letting species slip away from us. And right now I think we still have the ability to do something,” Schuyler said.

I spend a lot of time in and around the North Cascades. If grizzly bears recover there, how likely is it that I’ll run into them?

Very unlikely, said Ransom.

It is possible that government agencies and their partners could re-establish a baseline of 25 bears in the North Cascades over the next decade. They would likely capture bears in Canada or Montana and bring them to Washington. Even if Washington’s population reached 30 bears, that would still leave only one bear per 386 square miles, Ransom said, and they would all likely be somewhere remote and hard to reach. In comparison, ecosystems with healthy grizzly bear populations, such as Montana’s Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem, have only about 30 bears per 386 square miles.

Grizzlies reproduce slowly, so it will be a while before anyone has a reasonable chance of seeing a bear, Ransom said.

In the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem restoration zone, grizzlies have reached population levels that an ecosystem can reasonably support, Ransom said. Some bears are moving closer to places where people are, so communities are having conversations about where we tolerate bears and manage a healthy population — a conversation that Ransom said is “beyond our lifetime” in Falls the North According to the November 14 notice, agencies are trying to create a population of about 200 grizzlies within 60 to 100 years.

It’s not impossible to run into a grizzly bear in the North Cascades today, and backcountry reenactors should be prepared for bears every time they go. Scientists don’t know how many bears there are, but there are ransom dangers that “a couple” could still be around, living in an area that is already a designated recovery area.

“If they’re there, they’re doing what grizzly bears love to do, which is to live in remote places far from people,” he said.

Where will the bears come from, and how will they get here?

In order to create a population of bears, it will be necessary to move grizzlies from somewhere else—ideally places that have bears to spare.

To give these newcomers the best shot at life, scientists would try to bring them from similar ecosystems where they eat similar things. The diet of inland bears is almost entirely plant based, unlike coastal bears.

“These are not the bears that eat salmon at Fat Bears Week,” Ransom said, referring to the wildly popular science engagement effort in Alaska’s Katmai National Park that highlights how much weight grizzlies can gain while eating fish before hibernation.

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