Thursday, July 19, 2012

Montana Grizzly Bear Conservation ~ Local news links

Automated Bear trap by Alter Enterprise
These links are worth reading if you are interested in grizzly policy and/or in cooperative grizzly bear conservation efforts (of the more community/grass roots but still agency-involved variety).  Obviously both ends of this picture are necessary for successful conservation of any species, especially the species with a lot of 'charisma'.

Side note: If you are involved in wildlife biology or spend time around people who are, you are likely familiar with the term "charismatic megafauna".  If not, take a side trip to this link for more on the topic....and a look at one of at least a few reasons why you may hear this term used in a somewhat tongue-in-cheek-manner.

Back on point---why would charisma make conservation harder?  In many cases it may not; especially with non-predators.  But there are many species whose controversies help to keep them in the contemporary limelight (though most of these species, such as the grizzly bear, wouldn't ever be fully out of our sight or interest with or without controversy). And those controversies (usually due to fear for personal safety or livelihood, both which in any given situation may be unfounded, bu tare very likely to have merit in many cases).

Conservation efforts without local buy off and support often waste time and money, no matter how well-founded, and across the globe have historically even harmed the species they sought to protect.

Grizzly bear conservation in Montana over the past few decades is a darn good example of a lot of the pitfalls of conservation itself.  It's a great case study of ups and downs, but also of the challenges that befall even the soundest of approaches.  There are many things that have been done right in this great state and many twists and turns over the years that have really kept the saga....lively.  It'd take several articles to even attempt to do justice to this evolution.  I plan to give it a shot if and when time permits, but with the disclaimer that I am just a spectator, with a side-ward glimpse of just a snapshot of all of this.  But there's so much to be learned, and so many pivotal crossroads currently being approached, it's certainly worth a try.

As a starter, take a look at the following current articles for a current 'snapshot'.  Later, more history of whatever sort I can find to link to.

Hanna hosts Grizzly Bear Rendezvous to support grizzly management

Jack Hanna hosts 5th or 6th grizzly bear rendezvous, Bigfork Eagle article

What’s Next for Grizzly Bears?

State and federal agencies are working on a new management plan, Flathead Beacon article


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