Wow, what a week it's been! Headlines are exploding and I've been doing a lot of writing in response. I had been planning a large campaign to build public opposition against the push to delist the Yellowstone grizzly next year and intended to kick it off with an article about the issue. While that was in the works, this headline from the Bozeman Daily Chronicle set things in motion for me: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/wildlife/article_f260ce4a-47e9-11e3-bb2f-001a4bcf887a.html
A couple of days later, The Earth Times, an online environmental newspaper, published my latest (and most in-depth) article about this issue. You can read it here: http://www.earthtimes.org/conservation/losing-our-grizzly-bears-fall-wild/2493/
The piece has been spreading like a wildfire across social media and with its publication, I sent a letter to the editor of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle highlighting the basic points I covered in the article but it so far hasn't seen the light of day. I followed that with a personal letter to Wyoming Governor Matt Mead, again highlighting the points of the issue and trying specifically to persuade him to reconsider the trophy hunting regulations he wants to establish. Not surprisingly, it too has so far been ignored.
Just yesterday afternoon, I finished an op-ed article that I'm now shopping around. More of these are to come, including letters to Wyoming and Montana area papers where they will probably have the most affect.
Then, yesterday evening, I received quite a surprise. Someone slipped me a link to this article, which may be a ray of light in this gathering storm: http://trib.com/news/state-and-regional/wyoming-supreme-court-to-hear-grizzly-documents-case/article_fe85852b-3c60-5804-8ccd-9a793cb491c8.html Scroll down to the comments. The one by Cody Coyote revealing Gov. Mead's anti-predator stance is very interesting and likely explains why my letter to him was ignored. I'll be keeping a close eye on this as it develops.
You can get involved in this campaign also. You can contact both Gov. Mead and Wyoming Game and Fish online and write letters to your local papers highlighting this issue. Many people morally oppose what's happening but are not vocally opposing it; we have to be vocal and let it be known that we stand against the delisting and trophy hunting. If hunters, the NRA, scouts and wildlife groups came together in partnership with the government and conservation groups, it would finally prove that there is public support for the grizzly bear and funds and manpower could be combined to establish travel corridors across Montana, getting bears over and under highways and linking the isolated Yellowstone population with Glacier where they would have easy access to Canada and B.C. It would take work but would be much more noble than drafting a potential extinction plan.
There have also been a couple of interesting articles involving polar bears, who are themselves in a bad way right now. Due to decreased ice floes in the arctic and shorter hunting seasons, polar bears are starving and this is leading to increased risk of attacks on humans in areas where such things have rarely ever occurred. This has lead to wildlife officers in Arviat, Nunavut to establish feeding stations to keep the bears out of the community, an option that was proposed last winter by several polar bear experts in Hudson Bay. Once I've completed my writing campaign for the delisting issue, I'll be working on another op-ed for the polar bear crisis. Until then, you can read about what's happening here: http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2013/nov/10/scientists-warn-of-polar-bear-attacks-in-warming/#axzz2kGPanbkj
And find info on the feeding stations here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/arviat-tests-feeding-stations-to-divert-polar-bears-1.2425012