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For grizzlies, and for all wildlife . . .

We must protect and connect wild lands

GRIZZLY BEARS ARE BELOVED by most Americans, and are often seen as emblematic of the beauty and plight of all wildlife, as they struggle against a growing number of human-caused threats, particularly habitat loss. As a nation, we can celebrate the beginnings of a promising recovery for grizzlies, made possible by their protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) since 1975. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, before ESA protection, 31 of the 37 grizzly populations present in 1922 had been completely wiped out. Habitat loss due to human intolerance, interference setting up human-bear conflicts and overhunting were well on their way to causing the grizzly’s extinction. Though their numbers are improving, grizzlies still only occupy less than five percent of their historic range in the lower 48 states, and numerous human-caused hazards still threaten their long-term survival.

Despite continuing vulnerability, grizzlies in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) were on the brink of being stripped of their federal protection under the ESA this fall, with states regaining freedom to allow trophy hunts for the first time in decades. The Trust’s parent organization, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), and other partners, mounted a legal challenge, securing an important victory for grizzlies and the vast majority of the public, who want grizzlies protected. The court restored ESA protection for GYE grizzly bears, preventing this year’s hunts. Specifically, t acknowledged the continuing importance of federal protection, recognized the significance of the GYE grizzly population to the species, and stated that there was insufficient planning for protection after delisting and a failure to fully consider the population’s vulnerable genetic health.

Though the ESA is crucial to ensuring America’s grizzlies and other imperiled wildlife survive, special interests relentlessly try to undermine it. This never-ending battle means that wildlife needs the combined efforts of both the HSUS, fighting for wildlife’s legal protection, and the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust, working to permanently preserve the habitat wildlife must have to survive. The land preservation work you support through the Trust is vital to wildlife. Among the pressures grizzly bears face, habitat loss is paramount. As development and other human activities expand into wilderness areas, more conflicts occur. Roads through habitat increase grizzlies’ exposure to being killed by vehicles, poachers, ranchers and wildlife management. Grizzlies are one of the slowest-reproducing mammals, so every death is a significant loss to a population, and loss of healthy males or mothers with dependent young can cause deaths of cubs. Grizzly bears— and all wildlife—need safe habitat to survive.

In partnering with the Trust to permanently protect and connect wild lands for all wild animals, you’re giving wildlife safe, permanent homes. And you’re providing hunted species on those lands the benefit of humane stewardship, as commercial and recreational hunting and trapping are permanently prohibited on all our protected lands. Together, we will do all we can to give all wild animals the safe homes and hopeful future they deserve.


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