Grizzly Habitat

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Science  07 Feb 1997:
Vol. 275, Issue 5301, pp. 737-741
DOI: 10.1126/science.275.5301.737e


The grizzlies described in Bernice Weuthrich's article (News & Comment, 25 Oct., p 493) are hardly “wayward.” They are exploring their natural habitat. The “grazing land” they have chosen to forage on is national forest— agency-managed land of many uses, including (one hopes) habitat for threatened wild mammals. The biggest threat to survival facing large predators such as grizzlies in the United States today is not hunting or poaching, loss of prey, or habitat fragmentation. It is the politically driven approach to their “conservation” through pressure applied to agencies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service.

It is high time for biologists to advocate the protection and restoration of endangered species and their habitat using ecological criteria, rather than criteria related to political pressure. Otherwise, these species will go extinct