by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Multiplying grizzlies across the west is akin to unleashing wolves on Washington, D.C. — both predatory land mammals that have retreated from their native ranges but would pose a deadly threat upon their return. By maintaining endangered species protections on the growing bear population, Washington lawmakers are enabling the grizzlies to terrorize communities in the West.
Grizzly bears are fascinating creatures. A bear’s nose can detect anything from an animal carcass to a Snickers bar stuffed inside a backpack up to 20 miles away. With an intake of up to 90 pounds of food per day, they can grow up to 700 pounds, run up to 35 miles an hour, climb into the tree canopy, and swim through alpine streams with remarkable efficiency. As kings of the food chain, they help sustain beautiful ecosystems that attract tourists, which contribute billions to the national economy. So it makes sense that we would want to keep their population thriving for generations.
But grizzly bears are also among the most violent beasts in the American wilderness. …
… However remarkable, the grizzly comeback presents a threat to livestock and humans. In 2021, Montana paid out $340,000 to compensate ranchers for livestock kills, mostly from grizzlies, up from $261,000 in 2019, according to High Country News. In Wyoming, state officials reported that captures and relocations of problematic bears almost doubled from 2020 to 2021. The bears’ recovery has created a nuisance for rural landowners now dealing with grizzlies encroaching on their land and ravaging livestock. …
… In the meantime, radical environmentalists are engaged in a campaign to protect dangerous bears and let them multiply and spread across rural America. In May, a coalition of 31 conservation groups also sent letters to the Biden administration and congressional lawmakers urging federal officials to keep grizzlies listed as endangered.