Thursday, February 15, 2007

REI bear hugs GBOP

Yes, REI has embraced GBOP. Over 140 people gathered at REI recently to listen to a presentation by Chris Morgan, co-director of GBOP.

Chris has traveled the world in search of Brown Bears (aka Grizzly Bears) and the study of the habitats in which they live. His slide show was a virtual feast of wild bears in wild places. From Spitsbergen to Spain, Canada to Russia, bears rule the wilderness. Yet, without exception their habitats are threatened by development and encroachment. Looming on the horizon is the mother of all threats – GLOBAL WARMING. In Spain the bears are not hibernating. In the artic bears rely on sea ice to hunt their major source of food, the seal, and this ice is receding further and further north with each passing year. Soon the sea ice is predicted to disappear entirely in the summer months.

Thinking globally and acting locally has never been more relevant. In the North Cascades ecosystem grizzly bears have declined to the point that less than 20 survive. This is not a population that is likely to survive without help. The North Cascades was designated a grizzly bear recovery zone in 1983 by the US Department of Fish and Wildlife. After the presentation, the audience had many questions concerning recovery plans for North Cascade grizzlies.

GBOP thanks REI for their support in our continuing education programs and for their sponsorship of bear awareness weekends. Mark your calendar for April 21 and 22 to join us at the Woodland Park Zoo where the resident brown bears will be the center of attraction.

Photo credit Dennis Ryan