Grizzly bears still need our help
Grizzly bears need our help. While the species once roamed from the Pacific to the plains, the grizzlies of the contiguous United States were reduced to less than two percent of their historic range and numbers by the 1930s. In 1975, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the lower-48's bears under the Endangered Species Act, or "ESA," to save them from extinction. But the Service is now considering the removal of crucial ESA protections from grizzly bears in parts of the Western U.S. Join Earthjustice, the premier nonprofit public interest environmental law organization, in urging the Service to keep grizzlies protected throughout the lower-48 states until their recovery is assured.
For decades, grizzly bears faced persecution throughout their range in the Western United States. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, grizzlies were shot, poisoned, and trapped wherever they were found, reducing their population from roughly 50,000 bears to fewer than a thousand. After the ESA's protections spared grizzlies from being hunted and killed, scientists and government agencies worked together to begin bringing the species back to health. The bears, however, still face significant threats to their survival. The climate crisis and continued habitat destruction, along with increased killing by people, are only making matters more challenging for grizzlies.
Grizzly bears play a vital role in the ecology and culture of the American West. In addition, they are a keystone species, playing a crucial role in maintaining the health of their ecosystems by helping to regulate prey species and disperse seeds.
A premature delisting of grizzly bears would set us back from ensuring landscape and ecosystem resilience. Ongoing protections for grizzlies will become increasingly important for many other species, moreover, as our biodiversity crisis worsens. Send a letter today to urge the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to retain protections for all of the grizzly bears in the lower-48 states.
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SUBJECT LINE: Grizzly bears must remain protected.
Dear Fish and Wildlife Service,
I am writing to urge you to retain the Endangered Species Act's protections for all of the grizzly bears in the lower-48. The grizzly is a keystone species, playing a crucial role in ecosystem health. Grizzlies help to regulate prey species and disperse seeds, among many other things. It is crucial that we ensure continued protections for grizzly bears to help protect the ecosystems they call home.
Climate change has only made survival more challenging for grizzly bears. A warming climate has contributed to the loss of whitebark pine seeds—an important food source for grizzlies in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. In the wake of these losses, scientists have documented the bears' transition to a more meat-centered diet, which leads grizzlies to lower-elevation areas where they are more likely to be killed due to the conflicts that result from hunting and poorly secured attractants. At the same time, state proposals for managing—and hunting—grizzlies after delisting would only increase the significant threats the bears are already facing.
The premature delisting of any of the lower-48's grizzly bears would undo the progress the species has made toward landscape-scale resilience. Ongoing protections for grizzlies will be increasingly important, moreover, for many other species as our biodiversity and climate crises worsen. I accordingly urge the Service to retain Endangered Species Act protections for all of the grizzly bears in the lower-48.