By Clyde Davis
The status of grizzly bears in Yellowstone may not be the first thing that leaps into one’s thought process upon awakening.
Even for the reader who cares deeply about the environment, it is, or seems to be, far from New Mexico concerns.
In a nutshell, the controversy concerns listing, delisting, or relisting, the giant bear as an endangered species.
“Perhaps no other animal better symbolizes true wilderness than Ursus arctos — the grizzly bear.” — Stephen Capra, New Mexico Wilderness Alliance Newsletter, March 2009.
In the not too distant past, around the same time as the introduction of Mexican timber wolves was being implemented, there was a collateral movement to introduced the Mexican grizzly, a slightly smaller subspecies of the grizzly, into the Gila Wilderness. The movement stalled primarily for lack of a valid source population of bears from which to draw.
The issue, whether it concerns New Mexico or Yellowstone, is not simplistic, and it serves as a miner’s canary for many wilderness issues. Having spent numerous hours this summer enjoying some amazing outdoor areas, the issues are fresh in my mind.
The challenge is not confined to grizzly bears, nor is the purpose of this column. The bear issue is being mentioned because I have read several articles about it lately.
The crux of the matter, for grizzlies, is habitat. Food source, room to migrate, and intrusion of competing species, including humans: these are far more complex and involved than simple aspects like whether or not there is a limited hunting season, or whether a particular bear has developed a taste for calves and the ranchers want his head on a platter.
So it is with nearly all, if not all, ecological matters. Please, for the sake of our future, take the time to educate yourself so that, when you act, you may act with focus.
Clyde Davis is a Presbyterian pastor and teacher at Clovis High School. He can be contacted at: