Conservation group proposes bringing grizzly bears back into Arizona

Jun 28, 2019, 4:04 AM | Updated: 10:53 am
(Pixabay Photo)...
(Pixabay Photo)
(Pixabay Photo)

PHOENIX – An Arizona conservation group wants the federal government to consider reintroducing grizzly bears into the state.

The Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit in Montana’s U.S. District Court on Thursday accusing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of violating the Endangered Species Act by failing to update the federal recovery plan for grizzly bears, which was last revised in 1993.

Fewer than 2,000 grizzly bears remain in the lower 48 states, where they can be found in Wyoming, Montana, Washington and Idaho, according to the center.

The lawsuit says the agency should evaluate the possibility of reintroducing grizzlies into their historic habitat in Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, California, Nevada, Oregon and southern Washington.

“In the next couple of years, we’d like the service to evaluate the science on grizzly bear habitat in Arizona and elsewhere and develop an updated recovery plan to consider reintroduction in these additional areas,” Collette Adkins, the center’s carnivore conservation director, told KTAR News 92.3 FM in an email.

“Reintroduction would be a multiyear process, and the first step is the evaluation.”

Adkins said the Mogollon Rim and Gila Wilderness complex spanning Arizona and New Mexico and the Grand Canyon area have been identified as good grizzly bear habitat.

She said grizzlies are considered an “umbrella species” because they require a large habitat and protecting them protects the habitat for many other animals.

“Like other top carnivores, grizzlies have a strong influence on ecosystems,” Adkins said.

“For example, they reduce overgrazing by ungulates. Grizzlies also disperse seeds and help with nutrient cycling in soils when they dig.”

In 2014, the Fish and Wildlife Service turned down a Center for Biological Diversity petition asking for the recovery plan to be updated and for additional habitat areas to be considered.

That petition identified 110,000 square miles of potential grizzly bear habitat.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Flickr Photo/Grand Canyon NPS)...

Grand Canyon National Park tourism generated $710 million for local economy in 2021

Tourism in Grand Canyon National Park brought in $710 million for the local economy in 2021, according to a report released Monday.
5 hours ago
(University of Arizona Photo/Chris Richards)...
Kevin Stone

UArizona offers free tuition for Native American undergraduate students

The University of Arizona is making undergraduate education free for Native American students at the Tucson campus.
5 hours ago
(ADOT Flickr Photo)...

AAA Arizona expects Fourth of July travel to return to near pre-pandemic levels

AAA Arizona expects travel over the Fourth of July holiday to return to near pre-pandemic levels this year, despite high prices at the pump.
5 hours ago
The Threshold initiative was launched June 1, 2022, at a news conference at the Arizona Multihousin...
Julio Ernesto Mora Rodriguez I Cronkite News

Landlords asked to help solve homelessness through new Maricopa County initiative

The number of people experiencing homelessness is rising in Maricopa County, and with it the need for affordable housing. Enter Threshold, which intends to change the housing dynamic by inviting landlords to be part of the solution.
5 hours ago
(City of Tempe Photo)...

Arizona cities exchange fireworks for other showy July Fourth displays

A few Arizona cities plan to light up the night sky without fireworks to celebrate Independence Day this year. 
1 day ago
(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Police Department)...

Phoenix police involved in shooting near 52nd Street and Thomas Road

Phoenix police were involved in a shooting with a suspect on Monday night, authorities said. 
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
Christina O’Haver

BE FAST to spot a stroke

Every 40 seconds—that’s how often someone has a stroke in the United States. It’s the fifth leading cause of death among Americans, with someone dying of a stroke every 3.5 minutes.
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

ADHS mobile program brings COVID-19 vaccines and boosters to Arizonans

The Arizona Department of Health Services and partner agencies are providing even more widespread availability by making COVID-19 vaccines available in neighborhoods through trusted community partners.
Conservation group proposes bringing grizzly bears back into Arizona