Residents Rage At Biden’s Plan To Release Bears Near Their Communities!

Over 200 residents of Northern Washington have expressed their opposition to President Joe Biden‘s grizzly bear proposal. 

The Biden Administration plans to slowly reintroduce about 200 grizzly bears, which are an apex predator, into the federally-managed forest around multiple communities.

According to an official, the bears are part of the local heritage, but they almost went extinct in the 20th century. Locals are, however, firmly against the plan and say it’s inconsiderate and dangerous to the people. 

Washington Residents Oppose Biden Administration’s Bear Release Proposal

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Many residents of Northern Washington have recently expressed their disapproval of President Joe Biden’s plan to reinforce a grizzly bear population in a federal forest area near their communities. Over 200 residents attended a public comment session by the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Parks Service (NPS), where about 50 voiced their opposition to the proposal.

According to Fox News, Rep Dan Newhouse, who represents multiple local communities, spoke about the danger the plan poses to the people and their livelihood. He said, “As a farmer, I worry not only about the bears destroying my crops, but for the safety and well-being of myself, my family, and my on-farm hands.”

Newhouse mentioned that grizzly bears are very mobile creatures and will likely leave the protected area the officials drop them in. He added, “So tell me, what is the agency’s plan for dealing with crop loss and livestock depredation that is inevitable from the introduction of these predators? What is the timeline for issuing lethal permits? And how much will citizens have to lose before they can defend themselves from this predator in their backyard?”

The Proposal Is To Establish A Bear Population

A photo of a Grizzly bear

In September 2022, the FWS and NPS proposed the reintroduction of the grizzly bears in the North Cascades National Park in northern Washington. 

The proposal received a lot of praise from wildlife and eco groups but has been heavily criticized by lawmakers like Newhouse and the residents around the Park area.

According to the grizzly proposal, the NPS and FWS would release about seven grizzlies annually into the forest area over the next five to 10 years. The aim would be to establish and control a grizzly population of up to 200 bears over the next few decades.

During the comment session, one resident slammed the agencies for the decision, saying the forest isn’t the right habitat for the bears. 

He said, “So, you’re going to put grizzly bears there, what are they going to do? They’re going to get right out in the winter. They’re going to go right down in Mazama and they’re going to go down in the rest of the area because they’re not going to stay up there. So, I’m opposed to it completely.”

The Grizzly Bears Almost Went Extinct 

Local Residents Rage At Biden's Plan To Release Grizzly Bears Near Communities, Threaten To 'Shoot' Them

Executives from the FWS spoke to Fox News about the proposal and said the grizzlies are a part of local heritage in Northern Washington. 

Hugh Morrison, regional director of the FWS, said the agencies plan to restore them in a way that answers the residents and animals “coexist peacefully.”

According to a statement from the NPS, the grizzlies were an “essential part of the ecosystem” in Northern Washington for many years, going back centuries. 

However, aggressive hunting practices in the 20th century almost drove them into extinction. The last sighting of a grizzly Bear in the North Cascades ecosystem is reportedly as far back as 1996.

However, the residents insist that the bears aren’t necessary and that the agencies don’t know what they’re doing. 

One said, “These guys know nothing about fish, they don’t care about wildlife. All they want to do is ruin the most important people, which is farmers and ranchers who grow our food. There’s no reason for these people, there’s no reason for grizzly bears. If any grizzly bear comes around my place, I’m shooting it.”

There Are Massive Fines For Killing Grizzly Bears

Local Residents Rage At Biden's Plan To Release Grizzly Bears Near Communities, Threaten To 'Shoot' Them

It’s still unclear if the residents’ strong opposition to the proposal will put a halt to the release schedule. There is the risk of hunting and killing the released bears, which is a threat many residents made during the comment session. 

According to the FWS, killing the endangered species is a crime in the state, which can result in large fines and penalties.

In a previous letter to the NPS, the commissioners of Chelan County re-emphasized their stance on the proposal. 

They wrote, “We have previously provided extensive comments opposing grizzly bear reintroduction into our local communities. We continue to oppose grizzly bear reintroduction given the likely negative impacts to public safety, economic development, recreation opportunities and the overall livelihood of our rural communities.”

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