Bear that attacked cruise worker was skeletal, expert says; signs of its presence on beach should have been obvious, researchers who saw it the day before say

bremenhttp://icepeople.net/2018/07/30/hiding-in-plain-sight-footprints-and-whale-carcass-should-have-been-dead-giveaway-of-polar-bears-presence-say-research-crew-members-who-saw-it-a-day-before-attack/

The cruise ship wasn’t trying to bring tourists ashore to look at a polar bear. The uneven landscape of the beach meant the animal could have been out of sight a short distance away – but a whale carcass and lots of bear tracks should have been a dead giveaway. The crew tried to scare the bear away before being forced to kill it. An expert researcher says it appears the bear was very thin.

A few more details were released Monday by officials and a lot more criticism was expressed –including from celebrities and other prominent people worldwide – about a polar bear that was fatally shot after attacking a cruise ship crew member in northern Svalbard on Saturday.

Twelve crew members from the MS Bremen cruise ship went ashore in two dinghies at Sjuøyane, a group of islands at the northernmost part of the archipelago, at about 8:30 a.m. to prepare for a shore excursion by tourists on the vessel, according to a press release issued by The Governor of Svalbard. Four of the crew were polar bear guards, according to Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, a German company which operated the ship.

“The attack happened on shore,” Police Chief Lt. Ole Jakob Malmo said in the governor’s press release. “The victim, a 42-year old man from Germany, was wounded in the head. Two of the others in the group opened fire on the bear and killed it.”

Although the crew received widespread criticism from commenters wondering why sedation or other non-lethal means were used against the bear, Malmo said such attempts were indeed made.

“Initially, the group attempted to scare away the bear by shouting and making loud noises as well as firing a signal pistol, but to no effect,” he said.

A polar bear – almost certainly the one that was shot – was spotted the day before the attack eating a whale carcass by research expedition participants aboard the M/S Clione vessel from the Czech Republic.

“He just ate and then slept and then enjoyed being there,” said Josef Elster, director of the Czech Centre for Polar Ecology.

Jan Pechar, captain of the Clione, said an uneven surface on the beach meant the bear could have been a short distance from the cruise ship crew without being seen, but the whale carcass and bear footprints were clearly visible through a telephoto lens from the ship.

“There definitely was some proof” of the bear’s very recent presence, he said.

Pechar said he reported the bear sighting, as well as others spotted in the area during the expedition, to the governor’s office. Officials at the governor’s office did not immediately respond to questions about whether such reports would have been available to others traveling in the area.

Although the bear was able to eat a large last meal, photos of its carcass suggest it was “quite emaciated,” Jon Aars, a polar bear expert with the Norwegian Polar Institute, told NRK.

“Polar bears can attack people, regardless of whether it is hungry or not, but there is a greater risk that it attacks people when it’s hungry,” he said.

The vast majority of criticism by outside commenters toward the cruise line was for causing the bear’s death by invading the bear’s natural turf.

“Let’s get too close to a polar bear in its natural environment and then kill it if it gets too close. Morons,” wrote British actor-comedian Ricky Gervais in a Twitter message.

An abundance of other accusatory Tweets – not all of them entirely consistent with the facts of the incident – were posted, forwarded and reported in a rapidly growing number of media outlets worldwide.

Extinction Symbol@extinctsymbol

Polar bear killed for acting like a wild animal: https://www.nbc4i.com/news/u-s-world/polar-bear-killed-after-attack-on-arctic-cruise-ship-guard/1331132958 

Polar bear killed after attack on Arctic cruise ship guard

Norwegian authorities said a polar bear on Saturday attacked and injured a polar bear guard who was leading tourists off a cruise ship on an Arctic archipelago. The polar bear was shot dead by…

nbc4i.com

Among the more common apparent misperceptions was the cruise line was deliberately attempting to allow passengers to view the polar bear from land (although such suspicions have been expressed by a few locals and observers at Sjuøyane noted there were bears in the area since a large amount of whale fat was on the beach where the attack occurred).

“Maybe cruise sightseeing tours shouldn’t take place then polar bear guards wouldn’t be needed to protect gawking tourists & polar bears would be left in peace & not shot dead merely to satisfy a photo-op?” wrote Jane Roberts, a British genealogist.

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, in a statement, stated they do not intentionally bring passengers ashore to watch polar bears.

“Polar bears are only observed on board ships from safe distance,” the statement notes. “In order to prepare a shore leave, the polar bear guards will go to land as a group and without passengers to land, set up a land station and secure the area to make sure there are no polar bears. Once such an animal approaches, the shore leave would be stopped immediately.”

The cruise line stated it is working “intensively and cooperative with the Norwegian authorities for the reconstruction and enlightenment of the incident.” The governor’s office is investigating to determine if negligence or other wrongdoing was a factor in the attack.

“We expect that it will take some time to complete the investigation,” Malmo said.

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Bears’ dip in pool caught on camera in Sudbury

https://www.thesudburystar.com/news/local-news/bears-dip-in-pool-caught-on-camera-in-sudbury
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Sunday in Sudbury was hot. How hot? A momma bear and a cub felt compelled to take a quick dip in Vip Palladino’s pool.

Palladino, vice president of Palladino Honda, located on the 990 Kingsway Sudbury, said the bears used his backyard in-ground pool Sunday afternoon.

“Even bears need to cool off on a hot day,” Palladino joked.

Palladino said he was inside his house reading a new novel in his south end home when he heard his neighbour knocking on the door Sunday.

His neighbour asked if he knew he had two bears swimming in his pool. Palladino said no, ran to the window, but the bears had already left. Thankfully, his neighbour took some shots of the momma bear and cub swimming in his pool.

The bears didn’t wreck the lining in the pool and must had only been swimming for five minutes before they decided to leave, Palladino said.

Bears sighting, of course, are not that unusual here, the City of Greater Sudbury said on it website, the city said. The city’s website provides a link for residences who are curious to learn and understand bear behaviour, as well as take steps to avoid any encounters.

According to Ontario.ca, if you feel a bear poses an immediate threat to personal safety, and either enters a school yard when school is in session, enters or tries to enter a home, wanders into public gathering, kills livestock or pets, and stalks people, you should call the local police service.

“Generally bears want to avoid humans. Most encounters are not aggressive and attacks are rare,” the province said on its website.

Non-emergencies should be reported to Bear Wise between the months of April and November at 1-866-514-2327.

Non-emergencies include bears roaming around, checking garbage cans, breaking into a shed where garbage or food is usually stored, in a tree and moving through a backyard or field, but is not lingering.

During December to March, contact your local Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry if you have a concern.

If you want to avoid bear encounters, the website gives you the following steps:

– Do not put your garbage out at night.

– Fill your bird feeders during the winter months.

– Do not leave pet food outdoors or near screened-in areas.

– Pick up fallen and rotten fruit off your property.

– Lastly, make sure your barbecue has burned off any food residue, empty grease trap and remove all dishes after eating if you want to eliminate any possible bear encounters.

If you do happen to encounter a bear, the website said not to panic and assess the situation as a sighting, a surprise or a close encounter.

“When bears are caught off guard, they are stressed and usually just want to flee. Generally the nosier the bear is the less dangerous it is, provided you do not approach the bear. The noise is meant to ‘scare’ you off as a warning signal,” according to the website.

Do not scream, turn your back on the bear, run, kneel down, and make direct eye contact. Also don’t try to climb a tree or retreat into water — a bear can swim much better than you.

Arctic cruise ship guard kills polar bear ‘in an act of self-defence’

Incident occurred when tourists from MS Bremen cruise ship landed in area known for glaciers and wildlife

MS Bremen operator Hapag-Lloyd Cruises said one of its polar bear guards ‘was attacked by a polar bear and injured on his head.’ The animal was then shot dead ‘in an act of self-defence’ by a second guard, a spokesperson said. (Gustav Busch Arntsen/Governor of Svalbard/NTB Scanpix via AP)

Norwegian authorities said a polar bear on Saturday attacked and injured a polar bear guard who was leading tourists off a cruise ship on an Arctic archipelago. The polar bear was shot dead by another employee, the cruise company said.

The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre of Northern Norway tweeted that the attack occurred when the tourists from the MS Bremen cruise ship landed on the most northern island of the Svalbard archipelago, a region between mainland Norway and the North Pole that is known for its remote terrain, glaciers, reindeer and polar bears.

The German Hapag-Lloyd Cruises company, which operates the MS Bremen, told The Associated Press that two polar bear guards from their ship went on the island and one of them “was attacked by a polar bear and injured on his head.”

The polar bear was then shot dead “in an act of self-defence” by the second guard, spokesperson Negar Etminan said.

The injured man was taken by helicopter to the town of Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen island. He was not identified and no further information was given on him.

“He was flown out, was responsive and is currently undergoing medical treatment,” Etminan said, adding that the victim was not in a life-threatening condition.

She said all cruise ships travelling in the northern region are obliged to have polar bear guards on board.

Arctic tourism to the region has risen sharply in the last few years and is now in high season. A Longyearbyen port schedule showed that 18 cruise ships will be docking at the Arctic port in the next week.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/arctic-cruise-guard-kills-polar-1.4766236

Jimmy Kimmel scoop: Donald Trump “hates baby bears”

Jimmy Kimmel scoop: Donald Trump “hates baby bears”

https://www.fastcompany.com/40577274/jimmy-kimmel-scoop-donald-trump-hates-baby-bears

While we know that Donald Trump hates sharks, at least according to Stormy Daniels. Turns out the president also hates baby bears, at least according to Jimmy Kimmel.

Kimmel’s realization came in the wake of news that the Interior Department is ending a ban on hunting hibernating bears and their cubs in their dens. The National Park Service, under Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, apparently has a problem with some of the current protections for black bears, “including cubs and sows with cubs,” that prevent hunters from “harvest practices” that include using bait to lure bears out, using lights to find hibernating animals, and using dogs to kill bear cubs.

The National Park Service now wants to roll back those pesky rules that stop people from killing baby bears for fun, according to a proposal, which was published in the Federal Register on Tuesday. Under the proposed changes, hunters will now be able to hunt black bears with dogs, use motorboats to shoot swimming caribou, and kill wolves and pups in their dens. According to Kimmel, it’s all part of Trump’s plan to make America great again—and get rid of those evil baby bears.

Grande Cache animal lover ‘devastated’ after bear cub euthanized by provincial officials

Groot, a grizzly bear cub discovered by a highway near Grande Cache, was destroyed after a local animal advocate turned it over to provincial wildlife officials. ORG XMIT: nkDgueFEGHZbedIRnR4d EDMONTON

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A Grande Cache animal advocate is distraught after an abandoned grizzly bear cub she nursed back to health was destroyed by provincial wildlife officials.

“I was absolutely devastated,” said Brandy Gienger of the Grande Cache Animal Society. “I was heartbroken when I passed him over to the fish and game officers because I knew that he was going to be euthanized.

“I knew that (they) were just telling me what I wanted to hear so they didn’t have to create a scene with someone.”

On May 3, a work crew informed Gienger of an abandoned bear cub along Highway 40 near the Sheep Creek Bridge. The animal society called Alberta Fish and Wildlife, who told Gienger to leave the animal because its mother was probably out hunting.

The bear was still there among the rocks three days later. On the fourth day, the cub was gone, so Gienger assumed it had been picked up by its mother or fish and wildlife.

One day later though, someone called to say the bear was still in the same area by the highway. That evening, they went to collect the cub, who they decided to call Groot.

An Alberta wildlife rescue organization said it would work to rehabilitate the starving animal, and instructed Gienger how to care for him. Gienger kept him in a dark kennel to keep him from becoming habituated to humans, and fed him goat’s milk, which the famished bear cub loved.

Groot, a grizzly bear cub discovered by a highway near Grande Cache, was destroyed after a local animal advocate turned it over to provincial wildlife officials.  EDMONTON

By Thursday, they were ready to send the bear to the rescue centre when they got a call that conservation officers were on their way to collect him.

Gienger said she was reluctant because the bear was hours away from heading to a rescue. But she was assured the officials would “take the best interests” of the bear cub and take care of it.

On Friday morning, an apologetic provincial official told Gienger that the bear had been destroyed because he was severely dehydrated and his organs had stopped functioning properly. That ran counter to what Gienger had seen.

In a statement, Alberta Environment and Parks officials said steps were taken to find a facility that would accept a grizzly bear for permanent care, such as a zoo. However, they were unsuccessful, and said they had no choice to euthanize the “emaciated, dehydrated, lethargic” bear which was “near death.”

“This was a very sad situation, but unfortunately, officials felt the most humane thing to do was to limit the animal’s suffering,” the statement reads. “The decision to humanely euthanize this grizzly bear cub was not made lightly.”

Alberta recently approved a rehabilitation protocol for orphaned black bears, the statement added. However, the “rehabilitation requirements for grizzly bears are different, often requiring specialized care for a longer period of time.”

Alberta Fish and Wildlife officers kill grizzly bear cub near Grande Cache

http://vancouversun.com/pmn/news-pmn/canada-news-pmn/alberta-fish-and-wildlife-officers-kill-grizzly-bear-cub-near-grande-cache/wcm/c9e89eb7-ce69-4b71-b3be-08da476d40ca

A rescued grizzly bear cub is seen in this undated handout photo. Concerns are being raised about Alberta’s new policy on rehabilitating bears after a grizzly cub was killed by Fish and Wildlife officers this week. Two women rescued a grizzly bear cub near Grande Cache this week after watching it for five days to see if its mother would return for it. KYLA WOOLLARD / THE CANADIAN PRESS

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GRANDE CACHE, Alta. — Concerns are being raised about Alberta’s new policy on rehabilitating orphaned bears after a grizzly cub was killed by wildlife officers this week.

The province lifted a ban on private rehabilitation of cubs last month, but it only applies to black bears.

Two women rescued a grizzly bear cub near Grande Cache this week after watching it for five days to see if its mother would return for it. They went down to the area on Wednesday to check on the bear and found it emaciated, weak and starving.

“We brought it home and fed it some goat’s milk,” said Brandy Gienger, who’s with the Grande Cache Animal Society.

They had two rehabilitation facilities that were willing to take the bear, which they named Grout, but provincial wildlife officers showed up Thursday and took the cub away.

Woollard said they were told Friday that the bear has been put down by the officers.

“They just destroyed him,” said Gienger. “I’m devastated. I am absolutely disgusted with this.”

“They didn’t give him a chance at all.”

Officials with the province said in a statement that they tried to find a zoo that would accept the bear under permanent care, but they weren’t able to find one.

“The bear was emaciated, dehydrated, lethargic, and near death and specialists did not believe it would survive,” said the email. “To limit the bear’s suffering, the bear was euthanized.”

Gienger said the bear was responding well after being fed the goat’s milk.

Her friend, Kyla Woollard, said they’ve heard from the province and hope officials can change the orphaned bear policy to include grizzlies.

“I’m still upset at the fact that something that was so innocent had to lose its life,” she said. “When they passed the law to rehabilitate black bears, I feel like they should have made a law to rehabilitate all animals.”

The province recently approved the orphaned black bear protocol, but they said in their statement that every animal is different.

“The rehabilitation requirements for grizzly bears are different, often requiring specialized care for a longer period of time,” they said in the statement.

Grizzly bears were listed as threatened in Alberta in 2010 when it was determined there were only about 700 left. The numbers led to a recovery strategy aimed at reducing the number of deaths caused by people.

–By Colette Derworiz in Edmonton

Yellowstone’s grizzlies under threat from controversial hunting proposal

Nature  NEWS  03 MAY 2018

Biologists argue that plan could endanger the bear population in the iconic ecosystem.

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-05061-9

 

Giorgia Guglielmi

 

On 23 May, Wyoming officials will vote on whether to allow the hunting of up to two dozen grizzly bears around Yellowstone National Park this September. The proposed hunt has reignited controversy over whether or not this population of grizzlies has recovered from decades of hunting and habitat destruction — an issue that was central to the US government’s decision to take the bears in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem off the endangered-species list in 2017.

Seventy-three scientists sent a letter to Wyoming Governor Matt Mead on 25 April, asking him to halt the hunt until a panel of independent experts can review data on the size of the grizzly (Ursos arctos horribilis) population in this area.They are concerned that government tallies overestimate the number of bears in the ecosystem surrounding Yellowstone National Park, which spans roughly 80,000 square kilometres and is one of the largest continuous wilderness areas in the contiguous United States.

Critics challenge the federal government’s methods for assessing whether the grizzly population has become large enough to face a hunting season1. Those estimates might be too high because of a number of factors, says David Mattson, a wildlife researcher in Livingston, Montana, who retired from the US Geological Survey (USGS) in 2013. They include increased monitoring efforts in the past 30 years, better visibility of bears to aerial surveys — because of shifts in where the animals look for food — and assumptions that females will continue to reproduce until they die. There’s evidence that as female grizzlies age, they tend to reproduce less, Mattson says.

Wildlife scientist Frank van Manen, who leads the USGS Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team (IGBST) in Bozeman, Montana, disagrees with critics of the government estimates. The IGBST collects grizzly population data using a range of methods, including aerial surveys and tagging individual bears2, van Manen says, and the numbers from each method agree. He says that the current population estimate of 718 bears is “extremely conservative”.

Restricted hunts

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department proposed the hunt in February on the basis of those population assessments, and gave the public until 30 April to submit comments on draft regulations. If the rules were to pass, hunters could take up to 12 bears in the monitored region surrounding Yellowstone National Park — an area of about 50,000 square kilometres. They would be allowed to kill a further 12 bears outside that monitoring area, but still in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem. The state’s wildlife commission is currently reviewing public comments ahead of the late-May vote.

When the US Department of the Interior ended federal protections for the Yellowstone grizzly bear last year, the agency turned management of the animals over to Montana, Idaho and Wyoming — the three states in which the animals live. Idaho’s Fish and Game Commission is gathering public comments on a possible hunt. But Montana officials decided to skip this year’s hunting season, citing pending lawsuits claiming that the animals remain threatened.

Mattson and the other researchers who wrote to the governor about the hunt listed several concerns in their letter. Some of the bear’s food, including cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii) and whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis), will probably become even scarcer in the future as a result of environmental changes, the researchers say. This will threaten the survival of some bears and push them to hunt livestock or look for food near houses, increasing their run-ins with people, says Mattson. This could lead to a rise in the number of animals killed as a result of these conflicts, which would further shrink the population.

Size matters

Even if the current population estimates are accurate, removing 24 animals through hunting could have detrimental effects, says Andrea Santarsiere, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity who is based in Victor, Idaho. In 2017, 56 bears died in the IGBST monitoring area as a result of natural causes or conflicts with people. “If the same amount dies this year, we could be looking at up to 80 bears removed from the population,” Santarsiere says. “That’s about 10% of the current population.”

And killing females might pose even higher risks to the survival of Yellowstone grizzlies, Santarsiere says. The Wyoming proposal would allow the killing of no more than two females in the area around Yellowstone monitored by the IGBST, but it doesn’t put a cap on the number of females that hunters can take outside this area in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem. Females can carry up to four cubs at a time, Santarsiere says, “so killing one female could equal removing five bears from the population”.

The USGS’s Van Manen says the hunting proposal won’t pose a risk to the bear population. Only two hunters at a time would be allowed in the monitoring area, and the hunts would stop as soon as two females had been killed in this region, he says.

Wyoming officials seem to be intent on moving forward with this, says Louisa Willcox, a wildlife activist based in Livingston, Montana, who has been in contact with the state’s Game and Fish Department. “It’s extremely unlikely that the scientists’ comments will make them pause.”

Nature 557, 148-149 (2018)

doi: 10.1038/d41586-018-05061-9

 


 


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“The big challenge is still to deliver emissions reductions at the pace and scale needed, especially in a world where economies are driven by consumption.”

Sonja van Renssen.The inconvenient truth of failed climate policies. Nature Climate Change  MAY 2018

Published online: 27 April 2018 https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-018-0155-4 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Grizzly bears could make a return to WA — for real this time

Grizzly bears in Denali National Park

Grizzly bears in Denali National Park (Photo by Jacob W. Frank/National Park Service via Flickr)

He said it. He really did. To everyone’s surprise, on March 23, at the North Cascades National Park headquarters in Sedro-Woolley, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke — the same Ryan Zinke who had recommended shrinking Bears Ears National Monument in Utah and who had announced last June that Yellowstone’s grizzlies would be dropped from the endangered species list — declared that he was all for restoring grizzly bears to the North Cascades.

“We are moving forward with plans to restore the bear to the North Cascades,” Zinke said, stating unequivocally that the stalled process of preparing an environmental impact statement for grizzly restoration there would be completed by the end of this year.

If that really happens, then — 43 years after grizzlies were first listed under the Endangered Species Act — federal agencies can start bringing them back to the Cascades.

Once upon a time, hundreds of grizzlies roamed the North Cascades, as they roamed virtually all the rest of the Western United States. But for more than a century, people shot and trapped them, and the big bears were virtually all gone by the time North Cascades National Park was created in 1968. A year before that, at least one grizzly had still roamed the mountains; somebody shot it within what soon became the park.

Eight years later, grizzly bears in the Lower 48 states were listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. A federal recovery plan subsequently designated six grizzly bear recovery zones. One recovery zone covered 6 million acres, nearly all of it national park and national forest land in the North Cascades. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service came out with a North Cascades chapter to the national grizzly bear restoration plan 21 years ago, but it was never funded until late in the Obama administration. The environmental impact statement (EIS) process then began, but the Interior Department halted it last year.

Now, if the EIS gets finished as Interior Secretary Zinke promises, the feds can move ahead with restoration.

In the years after that lone grizzly was shot in 1967, people have occasionally reported seeing something that sure looked like a grizzly bear, and biologists have assumed a handful of bears at least dropped by. But for years, no one has found hard evidence. The draft EIS explains that in the previous 10 years, there were only four confirmed sightings in the North Cascades — all north of the border with Canada.

Despite extensive research, says Jack Oelfke, head of cultural and natural resources for North Cascades National Park, “we have not had a verified sighting of a grizzly bear on the U.S. side of the border in this ecosystem since the mid-1990s.” In other words, “the population is functionally extirpated. So, it is safe to say that any bears that might be seen on the U.S. side of the border are ‘tourists,’ and are not residents … but that we haven’t even verified a ‘tourist’ bear since the mid-1990s.”

No one expects that grizzlies, left to their own devices, will form a self-sustaining population in the North Cascades ever again. Washington’s current wolf packs were started by individual animals that just walked into the state. Why don’t grizzlies do the same? There are bears north of the border in British Columbia; the closest populations are endangered themselves. Besides, to get here from the north, a bear faces a number of barriers near the border: They would have to swim the Fraser River — not a big challenge for a bear — and cross railroad lines, roads, the Trans-Canada Highway. All together, the barriers are formidable.

Protesters concerned about Ryan Zinke's policies as Secretary of the Interior cheered his decision to move forward on planning for grizzly bears in the North Cascades.
Protesters concerned about Ryan Zinke’s policies as Secretary of the Interior cheered his decision to move forward on planning for grizzly bears in the North Cascades. (Photo by Scott Terrell/Skagit Valley Herald via AP)

If we, as a society, want a grizzly population in the North Cascades, we’ll have to start by hauling in bears from someplace else. Some people don’t like the idea. In 1995, just two years after the recovery plan came out, the state Legislature declared unequivocally, “Grizzly bears shall not be transplanted or introduced into the state.” That law, however, has no legal bearing on national park or national forest lands in the North Cascades. If bears are transported here from Canada or Montana, though, the law would keep state agencies from taking part in restoration efforts.

Joe Scott, international programs director for Conservation Northwest, sees a contradiction: Virtually no one objects to letting nature take its course. If grizzlies show up on their own and take up residence in the North Cascades, that’s OK. But if they get chauffeured in, it’s not so universally accepted. Still, you would have bears there either way.

Before federal agencies would move grizzlies into the North Cascades, Scott says, “They’ve got to find the right bears.” When the restoration planning process started, the national park’s Oelfke says, “we laid out criteria.” First, they’d only take bears from a population that seemed healthy enough to part with some. And they would avoid bears that had any history of conflict with human beings. A bear that already had a taste for garbage would not be a good fit. Problem bears get shot, no matter where they wind up. “Any bear that associates human beings with food is a goner,” Scott says.

The feds, it’s envisioned, would pick bears from an ecosystem that contained foods also found in the North Cascades. Then, they would pick young bears, between 2 and 5 years old. Older bears would be much more likely to pack up and leave. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Wayne Kasworm notes, “Older bears have already invested a portion of their lives in learning their home territories.” Why wouldn’t they go back? (Everyone involved in the North Cascades planning process knows the story of Winston, a grizzly from British Columbia’s Coast Range mountains that was placed experimentally in the North Cascades years ago. He was collared, so scientists monitoring him knew that he hung out for a while near Ross Lake, then headed for home, crossing roads and walking through people’s yards without being seen. They don’t want more Winstons.)

The scientists would also choose more young females than young males to rebuild the population. Plus, females would be less likely to head back home. The bears might come from the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem around Glacier National Park or maybe from Wells Gray Provincial Park, well north of Kamloops in eastern British Columbia.

Populations of predators have certainly been introduced into habitat they had historically roamed. The classic example is Yellowstone wolves. Closer to home, you can look at fishers in the Olympics and Cascades. But grizzlies have only been introduced once —  — it is still being done — in the Cabinet Mountains of northwestern Montana, part of the Cabinet-Yaak grizzly bear recovery zone.

The project there appears to be successful, offering a template for restoration in the North Cascades, according to Kasworm, who has led the Montana work from the beginning. “We have taken a population that ran in the single digits and brought it back to about 25,” he explains.

It is what he calls “a slow progression.” He and his colleagues started in 1990, introducing four bears as a test between that year and 1994. It took another 10 years, until 2004, to find the first DNA evidence that the bears had started reproducing. Now, he says, they’re going on the fourth generation.

Ryan Zinke at the North Cascades National Park
Ryan Zinke at the North Cascades National Park (Scott Terrell /Skagit Valley Herald via AP)

The recovery plan Zinke backed for the North Cascades has a no-action alternative — just keep on keeping on and if grizzlies show up, that will be nice — and three action alternatives, all of which envision a population of up to 200 grizzly bears a century from now. Scott says that some people seem to have “a perception that the ultimate objectives are meant to be immediate. It’ll take a century to get to 200 bears — if all goes well.”

“The most [bears] I’ve heard of being moved in any one year is a handful,” he explains. Alternative C — which Conservation Northwest favors — would bring in up to 25 bears over the first 10 years. Not all of those bears would survive. Some would walk away. At best, the population would grow by a couple of bears each year.

The National Park Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service received 127,000 public comments on their draft EIS. Not all were favorable. That was hardly a surprise. Ranchers who already feel beleaguered by wolf packs don’t welcome the prospect of more large predators. And, of course, the idea of a charging grizzly bear is beyond scary, even though, in reality, fewer people are killed by grizzlies than perish in avalanches, according to statistics compiled by Backpacker magazine some years ago.. The seven avalanche deaths in Washington this winter exceed the number of people killed by bears of any kind in all of North America during any year since the turn of the century.

Occasionally, (bear) shit does happen. A man I know was hiking some years ago in Glacier National Park, on a trail along which no bear activity had been reported, when he and a friend saw what they thought was a big dog out in a field. The dog ran toward them. It turned out to be a young male grizzly. It mauled the two people. There’s no way to sugar-coat that.

Oelfke with the North Cascades National Park doesn’t try. He does point out, though, that society has decided to save species, and that entails certain risks. As does spending time in designated wilderness areas.

Then there’s climate change to consider. Would climate change, the elephant in so many rooms, ultimately make the North Cascades a lousy place for grizzly bears, no matter how many are trucked in? Probably not. Officials will do more work on climate change “to pin down what the anticipated changes will be,” Oelfke says. But he says that grizzly bears are noted for their “incredible flexibility” about food. He notes “Their range before [European] settlement,” he notes, “was from the far north all the way to Mexico.” In the North Cascades, “a variety of habitats exist,” Oelfke says, “and thus a variety of food resources.” The bears are “such generalists that even with some changes in habitat, they may not become affected” by the higher temperatures, thinner snowpacks and more frequent downpours predicted for Washington, he says.

Their chances will, of course, be better if Zinke’s support represents a trend, rather than an anomaly. After Zinke’s Sedro-Woolley speech, Conservation Northwest’s executive director, Mitch Friedman,told The Seattle Times’ Lynda Mapes, “Let me catch my breath. Nixon went to China. Zinke is going to bring the grizzly bear back to the North Cascades.”

And why not? “Wildlife conservation used to be a bipartisan issue,” Scott says. “It would be nice to think that wildlife would once again become a bipartisan issue.”

Province lifts ban on rehabbing orphaned black bear cubs ‘Bears are not an animal that really needs to be feared’

Stephen Hunt · CBC News · Posted: Apr 18, 2018 7:18 PM MT | Last Updated: April 18

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Estimated to be a couple of months old, this black bear was rescued in southern Manitoba after its mother was found dead. Alberta is lifting a ban on rehabilitating orphaned black bear cubs under the age of 12 months. (Manitoba Bear Rehabilitation Centre)

Orphaned black bear cubs have been given a reprieve by a new provincial policy that allows for them to be rehabilitated.

The new policy reverses a ban that’s been on the books since 2010.

Lisa Dahlseide, a wildlife biologist with the Cochrane Ecological Institute, says that ban resulted in the euthanizing of at least 24 black bear cubs, according to data collected from a report released in 2015.

Dahlseide described the change in policy as “wonderful news” in a Wednesday interview on <http://www.cbc.ca/listen/shows/the-homestretch> The Homestretch.

“[The change has been] a long time coming for black bear cubs,” she said. “It really is good news, because no longer will the Alberta government be euthanizing them.”

Instead, orphaned black bears under 12 months of age can be rehabilitated at places like the Cochrane Ecological Institute, or any other wildlife rehabilitation centre across the province that has approved facilities for bear cubs.

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This is a photo of an enclosure where orphaned black bear cubs are rehabilitated, at the Cochrane Ecological Institute. (Lucie Edwardson/CBC News)

The rehabilitation process involves a combination of human interaction, and teaching it how to survive without people involved.

“Generally they come and they’re very small,” Dahlseide said. “They’re still drinking milk, because they’re mammals. And so what happens is it’s very limited exposure with people — they only have one human that interacts with them to give them the bottle. As soon as they are done with bottle feeding, then that human interaction is done with as well.”

Adding water features to enclosures

At the Cochrane Ecological Institute, Dahlseide said orphaned bears stay in large enclosures — ranging from six to 20 acres — which are full of native food, as well as trees and other interactive things to give them exercise and learn to get fed without relying on people.

“There’s a lot that goes into rehabbing them to avoid habituation and food conditioning,” she said.

The institute is currently raising funds, through donations, to add water features to each enclosure, which is part of the requirements for the new government protocol.

“That’s actually a really good thing for the bears,” Dahlseide said. “Hopefully those water features can be stocked with fish, so they can get that experience.”

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The new protocols include the stipulation that each bear enclosure must have a water feature. (Paul Conrad/Associated Press)

Other bears and other species not included

The new policy does not apply to orphaned grizzly bears, which are still euthanized — a policy that Dahlseide says is wrong-headed.

“Science has actually shown there are no known negative human conflicts with grizzly bears, post-relief,” Dahlseide said. “Other places in the world do rehabilitate them successfully — so I’m hoping the provincial government will be considering them and hopefully including them in the bear protocol as well.”

She pointed to the research of naturalist Charlie Russell, who has done extensive studies of grizzlies, Dahlseide said there’s no reason for people to be afraid.

“His research with bears has proven that bears are not an animal that really needs to be feared. If we trust them, they’ll trust us as well.”

‘No evidence, data or science to support those bans’

The list of orphaned animals banned from rehabilitation is not confined to grizzlies, either, Dahlseide said, adding “and again, the province has no evidence, data or science to support those bans. So we want to see that lifted for all species.”

Rallies are planned on Saturday in Calgary and Edmonton, calling for the lifting of the ban on all orphaned animals.

The Calgary rally takes place at Municipal Plaza, next to city hall, between 3 and 7 p.m.

“We wanted to show our support for the grizzly bears, the foxes, coyotes, wolves, bighorn sheep, and elk — the list goes on and on,” Dahlseide said. “All the animals that the province currently doesn’t allow for rehabilitation.”

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/orphan-black-bear-cub-ban-lifted-1.4625460

B.C. strengthens grizzly bear hunting ban with new regulations