Despite being on the state flag, grizzly bears are all but extinct in California.
Some 10,000 grizzlies lived in the state when European immigrants first landed. Yet within 75 years, they had been hunted and killed. In Fresno County in 1922, the last grizzly was killed in the state, according to the Valley Center History Museum in San Diego County. There were a couple sightings in Sequoia National Park in 1924, but after that, nothing.
Now, an environmental group wants the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to bring the grizzly back to California. The Center for Biological Diversity is asking federal officials to carve out some 11,000 square miles in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado for 300 to 400 bears, according to the LA Times.
Even if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife grants the petition, it’d be years before any action could happen. Given the grizzly’s fearsome reputation, should they be placed so near to humans?
Noah Greenwald, Endangered Species Director, Center for Biological Diversity, the environmental group behind the petition