As humans encroach on grizzly bear land, there are more and more bear-human interactions that end with the human killing the bear.
Grizzly bears are an iconic North American mammal, found in Alaska, parts of Canada, and portions of the northwest US. They are a subspecies of brown bear , distinguished by their color, a muscular hump on their back, and the length of their claws. These magnificent creatures define many national parks in the US, partially because of their status as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. How did grizzly bears become endangered? It all boils down to human activity.
Oil and gas development, recreational development, improper livestock grazing, excessive road expansion, and poorly designed timber harvest all contribute to the human encroachment on grizzly bear habitat. As humans take and use lands where grizzly bears live, the bears are forced to retreat to increasingly smaller untouched areas. The less area for grizzly bears to live, the fewer grizzly bears there are.
As humans encroach on grizzly bear land, there are more and more bear-human interactions that end with the human killing the bear. Additionally, while grizzly bear poaching may be rare, hunting still has contributed to the decline of the grizzly bear population.
Global warming appears to be exacerbating human-caused grizzly bear mortalities. As temperatures stay warmer later into the year, grizzly bears are denning later and later, leading to more time during which humans and grizzly bears may interact. These interactions often end with the death of the bear out of self-defense. Additionally, climate change is changing grizzly bears’ habitats, making them less habitable due to rising temperatures, melting ice, and seasonal changes.
Eating less meat and other animal products can also help grizzly bears, as livestock expansion is one of the biggest reasons for land development in the US. The meat industry, therefore, contributes heavily to climate change, which in turn affects grizzly bear habitats. Looking to reduce your meat and animal product intake but don’t know where to start? Try our Meating Halfway program, a 21-day journey that guides you through reducing your meat intake.