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McNeil River Bears in Trouble!

THE GRIZZLY MAN DIARIES documents Timothy Treadwell's relationship with the bears of Katmai National Park. Set against the backdrop of the Alaskan wilderness, this mini-series draws on hundreds of hours of unseen footage from the decade before Treadwell's death in 2003. It tells the story that Treadwell himself hoped to tell, featuring "his" bears as creatures to be respected, admired and loved, not as the wild, strong and dangerous animals that killed him. The series premieres August 29 at 9PM (ET/PT). To learn more about Timothy Treadwell and the show please visit the Grizzly Man Diaries website.

Grizzly People's educational DVD will be in schools this fall to help spread Timothy's eco message to preserve and protect wild animals and wild lands.

MORE ON DELISTING

Help protect North America's most endangered grizzlies!

DELISTING-OVERVIEW.

TOP TEN REASONS AGAINST DELISTING

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Grizzly People is a grassroots organization devoted to preserving bears and their wilderness habitat. Our goal is to elevate the grizzly to the kindred state of the whale and dolphin through supportive education in the hopes that humans will learn to live in peace with the bear, wilderness and fellow humans.

Grizzly People Founder Timothy Treadwell was an adventurer who lived life to the fullest. He was an educator, a preservationist, a friend to all species and a great steward of this planet. With your help, Grizzly People will thrive in the spirit of Timothy Treadwell.

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Dear Grizzly People Supporter:

Thought you might be interested in an update on the status of Yellowstone grizzly bear delisting, and the work of NRDC's Wild Bear Project to ensure the health of the grizzly bear population in the Northern Rockies. As female grizzlies now emerge from their dens in the high country, they face an increasingly uncertain future, with mounting development pressure and human activities.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced its plan to remove endangered species protections for Yellowstone's grizzly bear populations. NRDC is committed to fighting this decision in order to protect grizzlies from excessive killing and to ensure that needed habitat is not exploited for development. Attached are some selected news clips on the coverage of the delisting announcement.

On April 2, we filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue the federal government over the delisting decision. Co-plaintiffs in this case are Sierra Club, Western Watersheds, Great Bear Foundation, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, the Humane Society of the U.S., Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, and Center for Biological Diversity. We are represented in this case by the able attorneys at Earthjustice. We plan to file the lawsuit as soon as the 60 days expire.

The delisting decision will cast a long shadow on the future of Yellowstone's bears, as well as other grizzlies in the Northern Rockies. Yellowstone grizzly bears have made a remarkable comeback since they teetered on the brink of extinction nearly thirty years ago. But they have survived only because of the Endangered Species Act-and they are not out of the woods yet. Bears face great threats to their future that would be even more daunting if they were stripped of their protected status.

Since the debate over grizzly bear delisting began ten years ago, scientific information has mounted about the threats to grizzlies and its important food sources. Of particular concern is whitebark pine, which is vulnerable to disease, mountain pine beetles, and the effects of global warming. Warmer temperatures have spurred the outbreak of mountain pine beetles that are wreaking havoc on whitebark pine trees, which provide nutritious nuts that are essential for the bear's survival. The combined effects of global warming, mountain pine beetle outbreaks, and increasing infection from an introduced pathogen, white pine blister rust, are likely to be devastating to Yellowstone's whitebark pine forests-as well as to the grizzly bear. You may have seen the New York Times articles in January on this issue (attached); this was the result of work we have been doing with whitebark pine expert Dr. Jesse Logan, and an expedition we led last August into the Wind River range.

As with polar bears, grizzly bears are living in a world of shrinking habitat due to warming weather. Yet, in the final delisting rule, Fish and Wildlife Service didn't anticipate global warming, and didn't develop a game plan for the loss of whitebark pines and the related harm to grizzlies. A reasonable response would have been to ensure protections for additional suitable grizzly habitat that will be needed to offset the loss of whitebark pine. Particularly good wildland habitat exists in the Wyoming Range, Palisades, southeastern Absarokas, and Wind River Range. But with pressure from the states and managing agencies, FWS has steadfastly refused to extend protections to these areas, which lie outside an outdated and artificial "recovery zone."

In addition, grizzly bear delisting means removal of protections for currently occupied bear habitat, including limitations on road building, logging, and oil and gas development in much of the public lands currently used by bears. Nearly 40% of the lands used by grizzly bears today in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem lies outside the core "recovery zone." And although U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service counts the bears outside this area to conclude the population meets recovery levels, the agency has not taken steps to ensure the bear's viability in those areas after delisting. Thus, the delisting rule puts any bears that wander outside this area at increased risk of death. This is especially problematic since the states aim to hunt grizzlies and since the governments of four counties in Wyoming (comprising 25% of current grizzly habitat) have passed laws declaring that grizzlies are "unacceptable" and should be killed. With the lowest reproduction rate of any mammal in North America, the grizzly is especially vulnerable to even slightly increased rates of death.

Ultimately, the debate about grizzly bears is about our commitment to maintaining an important part of the natural heritage that is shared by all Americans. Grizzly bears are a barometer of the health of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, and have a special place in our history and in the hearts and minds of millions of people. We were reminded of this fact in a review of the over 210,000 comments submitted to Fish and Wildlife Service on the delisting rule; we found that by a margin of more than 200 to 1, Americans opposed this plan to strip bears of endangered species protection.

In other grizzly news, bears in the Cabinet Yaak and Selkirks ecosystems got a boost in December, when Federal District Judge Malloy ruled in our favor on a case involving excessive road-building on the national forests in Northwestern Montana and Northern Idaho. NRDC was represented by Earthjustice in this case. Malloy ruled that the Forest Service had relied on incomplete information when it adopted a new road management plan that would maintain 95% of an 8,500 mile road system that has degraded habitat for the Cabinet Yaak and Selkirks ecosystem. The future of these tiny populations (numbering less than 50 individuals each) is critical to recovery of the grizzly in the lower-48 states, because geographically they are positioned to link grizzlies in the U.S. to more robust populations in Canada.

In addition, NRDC and other conservation organizations recently requested that FWS withdraw a permit for a copper/silver mine which would, if built, be devastating to the few remaining grizzlies in the Cabinet Yaak Ecosystem in northwest Montana. This is round three in the multi-year battle against this mine, which would likely exterminate the 20 or so bears hanging on in the ecosystem.

As threats mount to the Northern Rockies grizzlies and their ecosystems, we are re-doubling our effort to protect this magnificent animal and icon of western wilderness. To do this, we aim to 1) allow grizzlies to expand where experts have shown that they can live, 2) reconnect remaining populations with source populations in Canada, and 3) to reduce where possible, causes of human/bear conflicts and unnecessary mortality.

Sincerely,

Louisa Willcox
President, Grizzly People

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