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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

First verified grizzly bear sighting in the US Cascades in fifteen years

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A team of government and independent grizzly bear experts unanimously affirmed that a bear photographed in North Cascades National Park in October 2010 was a grizzly bear.

A team of government and independent grizzly bear experts unanimously affirmed that a bear photographed in North Cascades National Park in October 2010 was a grizzly bear.

First verified grizzly bear sighting in the US Cascades in fifteen years

Photos, taken by hiker Joe Sebille in the North Cascades in October 2010, have been affirmed to be of a grizzly bear, the first such sighting since 1996.

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Jul 01, 2011
Editors Note, 2014: Continued research in the area of the 2010 bear photos taken by a hiker in the North Cascades, including photo evidence of an usually large black bear in the immediate vicinity and no hair, scat, tracks or sign of grizzly bears found in the area, have led some bear experts to believe the animal in the photos was actually a black bear.

A team of government and independent grizzly bear experts unanimously affirmed that a bear photographed in North Cascades National Park in October 2010 was a grizzly bear.

The US Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) estimates that there are fewer than 20 grizzly bears in the Cascades. But with no officially verified sightings in more than a decade, some biologists have expressed concern that the Cascades grizzly bears have all but vanished. At nearly 10,000 square miles, the North Cascades Ecosystem is the second largest of six official grizzly bear recovery zones designated by the federal government and the only one outside of the Rocky Mountains.

Cascades grizzly in the news

Conservation Northwest has lead the push for grizzly bear recovery in the Pacific Northwest for more than twenty years. Joe Scott, Conservation Northwest’s director of international conservation, issues the following statement:

“We welcome this confirmation that grizzly bears still roam the North Cascades. But it doesn’t change the fact that their foothold in these mountains is as tenuous as that of a climber on crumbling rock. The Cascades grizzly bear population has been languishing at dangerously low levels for more than 50 years. It will not recover without pro-active strategies to boost the population, an action identified in the Service’s North Cascades Grizzly Bear Recovery Strategy 15 years ago.”

“Conservation Northwest has been working in Washington and British Columbia to secure and recover our region’s grizzly bears and protect and connect their habitat. The Cascades grizzly is the last remaining population on the Pacific Coast of the lower 48 states.”

“This lonely bear has friends: There is demonstrably solid community, tribal, and political support for grizzly bear recovery in western Washington. Seed money has been committed by private parties to help fund recovery actions. The Grizzly Bear Outreach Project has been working to educate communities in the area for nearly a decade. As a trans-boundary ecosystem, grizzly bear recovery efforts in the Cascades can be shared between the US and Canada, and Washington and British Columbia and serve as a globally significant conservation success story.”

“We are calling on the federal and state governments to immediately initiate actions to ensure that this bear is not alone and that it has the opportunity to serve as the foundation for a recovered grizzly bear population in the Cascades. Conservation Northwest is poised to contribute to the effort to the best of our ability.”

Full USFWS press release availble here.

Photos courtesy of Joe Sebille, for press use only. Click thumbnails for larger versions. Need help with photos? Email barbara@conservationnw.org
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