Celebrities Unite to Save the Yellowstone Grizzly
August 24, 2016
A star-studded coalition of scientists, authors, movie stars and conservationists has launched a media campaign and petition to convince President Barack Obama to take executive action, overruling an agency proposal to take the Yellowstone grizzly bear off the Endangered Species list.
Esteemed scientists Jane Goodall, George B. Schaller, Michael Soulé, and Edward O. Wilson joined with actors Jeff Bridges, Harrison Ford and Michael Keaton, authors Carl Hiaasen, Scott Momaday, Terry Tempest Williams, Douglas Brinkley, Thomas McGuane and Doug Peacock, along with businessmen Yvon Chouinard and Ted Turner, and former Yellowstone park superintendent Michael Finley, sending a plea to the president following an announcement by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service last spring of its intention to remove federal protections of the bear.
Today, Save the Yellowstone Grizzly launches a petition to reverse that action, along with a website featuring video testimony from Bridges, Chouinard, Goodall, Hiaasen, Tempest-Williams and Peacock, in which they make their case for the grizzly’s future. The group needs 100,000 signatures by September 22, 2016, in order to get a response from the White House.
“Without bears, Yellowstone is not Yellowstone. It’s a zoo,” Chouinard says. “These federal scientists that say that global warming won’t have any thing to do with the future of the grizzly bear are absolutely wrong.”
Tempest-Williams agrees. “If we lose the grizzly in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem, there will be no greater Yellowstone. It is the emblematic presence in this region, and that’s what we’re fighting for.”
President Obama says that “the greatest threat to our national parks is climate change.” FWS, however, denies this risk, stating “we conclude that the effects of climate change do not constitute a threat to the [Yellowstone grizzly bear population] now, nor are they anticipated to in the future.” This is an astonishing contradiction.
In the wake of the agency’s decision to delist the grizzly, the three states around Yellowstone have announced their intentions to sponsor trophy hunting of the bear. Opponents say that the effects of climate change on Yellowstone grizzlies’ food sources, in addition to their famously slow reproductive rate, coupled with a trophy hunt, would put the bears on the path to extinction.
The videos and petition may be viewed at savetheyellowstonegrizzly.org.