The potential reintroduction of the bears has attracted over 127,000 comments from the public. The plan received support last week from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke who said he was in favour of the bears’ reintroduction to the ecosystem as long it was “done right”.
A joint statement said: “We are extremely disappointed with the Department of the Interior’s support to introduce Grizzly Bears to the North Cascades of Washington. For more than a year we have heard the Secretary talk about being a better neighbour, but unfortunately actions speak louder than words. Reintroducing as many as 200 man-eating predators into an area already reeling from exploding grey wolf populations is anything but neighbourly.”
Ethan Lane, PLC and NCBA Federal Lands executive director, said: “This decision won’t just impact ranchers – it’s a blow for the entire North Cascades ecosystem, the safety of locals and visitors, and the local economy, too. In fact, the only beneficiaries of an action like this will be the radical environmental activists that support this type of ill-advised ecosystem tinkering.”
Sarah Ryan, WCA executive vice-president, added: “The idea of dumping man-eating grizzly bears from helicopters into Washington National Parks has not been well thought out. Once the grizzly bears walk out of the park into rural towns and private and state lands, the communities surrounding the recovery area can be greatly impacted.
“Already, the livestock community has had little to no help with the management and recovery of wolves in the North Cascades, and cannot accept and welcome another federally listed apex predator with no monetary help from the federal government. What is the reasoning behind thinking a recovery like this can be accomplished without the support of the ranching, logging, recreation, and natural resource-based communities or consideration for public safety?”