North Cascades Grizzly Bear Sighting

U.S Fish and Wildlife Service Press Release this week announced a verified grizzly bear sighting in the North Cascade Mountains of Washington – the first since 1996. The fact that my home state remains wild enough to accommodate a grizzly bear gives me a sense of  pride. Few ecosystems in the lower 48 states remain ecologically robust enough to support healthy grizzly bear populations. Many of us chose to live in states such as Washington, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming because of the vast amount of wilderness that they still offer. And with all those wild spaces come a few wild animals. The US Fish and Wildlife Service, charged with recovering and conserving the threatened grizzly bear, believes there are fewer than 20 grizzly bears living in the North Cascades.

Though the North Cascades could technically support more than 20 grizzlies, fewer exist due in part to human-caused mortality. In order for grizzly bears numbers to increase, be delisted from the federal Endangered Species List, then be managed by the state wildlife agencies, attention must be paid to decreasing conflict between humans and grizzlies. Human-caused mortality of grizzly bears can be attributed to a number of circumstances, including mistaken identity (with black bear), poaching, and sanitation issues. Bird feeders, unsecured garbage, pet food and other household articles are strong attractants for bears. These home-fed bears often become habituated and are removed by state agencies to resolve or prevent conflict with home owners and their wild neighbors.

GBOP Field Representatives meet with community members in Washington and northern Idaho to discuss ways to help keep humans safe and bears, like the recently spotted grizzly, wild. Read more about grizzly bear biology and behavior, legal status and recovery, safety, and tips for coexistence on our website. GBOP looks forward to speaking with and listening to local stakeholders about the recent grizzly sighting, locals’ experiences with and opinions about bears, and the ways in which humans and bears can safely inhabit a shared landscape. –Like the large, wide, and wild North Cascades.

3 thoughts on “North Cascades Grizzly Bear Sighting

  1. A friend of mine was scouting a spot for the upcoming elk season near Salmon la sac 2 weeks ago and had an encounter with a bear he swears was a grizzly. He is not a fellow that I would normally question as he has had a number of interactions with the big bears in Montana and Alaska. When he contacted WFDFW to make a report they told him that they had 5 or 6 recent similar reports but could not verify them.

  2. My friend and I were hiking back from Waptus lake (via Waptus river trail) to Salmon la sac trailhead last weekend and we saw a bear which did not fit typical black bear features. My friend and I saw a blond hump of fur poking out(40yrds) from a bush which at first sight(because of the animals height)looked like an elk or moose. When the figure move into plain sight/sunlight it was obviously a 500lb+ bear. The bear had a hump on it’s back/shoulders, small ears, square facial features with full fur up to it’s actual nose. I understand color has nothing to do with bear differentiation, but it did have longer light brown fur with blond tips(almost like the coat of a Ragdoll cat). My friend and I did not report the incident as we know the validity of the story would be immediately questioned.

    • Hi, Dane, Actually we are very happy to have ALL possible grizzly bear sightings reported. Of course, because the odds are in favor of it being a black bear owing to the extreme difference in population numbers, all such reports are carefully scrutinized. We have established a “hotline” for making reports at 1-888-WOLF_BEAR where you can leave a detailed message and a call-back number. Also, feel free to e-mail or call me directly for any other information.

      Lorna Smith, GBOP Executive Director

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