Let me take you back, waaaaay back to 1967, the last time my Toronto friends’ beloved Maple Leafs (Toronto’s heartbreaking hockey team that never wins and yet has the most loyal - and delusional - fans in the league… but I digress) won the NHL’s coveted Stanley cup.
You see, in that same year, deep in the Cascade mountains (in the Pacific NorthWest) a single hunter made an unfortunate notch in history by killing the last known Grizzly Bear to walk that vast landscape - bigger than YellowStone National Park.
In the decades that followed, scientists have looked for evidence of big Grizz’s return, but alas, nothing.
Thankfully though, in those ensuing decades (while the Maple Leafs lost game after game after game) our perception of apex predators like the Grizzly Bear, Wolves and Sharks has gradually changed from one of fear, to one of respect.
When wolves were reintroduced to YellowStone, they shifted the grazing habits of their primary food source - Elk - thereby making room on the riverbanks for new vegetation to grow, such as aspen and willow, which in turn led to a resurgence in the Beaver population (not to mention songbirds) and if you’ve been paying close attention, you’ll remember Beavers play a crucial role in mitigating the impacts of wildfires.
DON’T CALL IT A COMEBACK… JACK
So are you ready for the good news???? This summer, in a cross border connection, the US is penning a deal to bring Grizzlies back to the Cascades by relocating some young females from Canada (BC to be exact) and Montanna.
Like Wolves, Grizzlies play a crucial role in shaping the land and our love of and connection to nature. Here are 4 ways they help:
- 1- Ecological Gardeners: Grizzlies are expert seed dispersers, spreading seeds far and wide as they roam and eat plants. Without them, the ecosystem becomes less diverse and resilient.
- 2- Scavengers Extraordinaire: These bears clean their plates when they find a carcass, breaking it down and providing a feast for other animals. Their scavenging ensures nothing goes to waste.
- 3- Salmon Guardians: Grizzlies love a good salmon dinner and play a crucial role in the salmon ecosystem. When they catch fish and leave leftovers on riverbanks, it provides nutrients that nourish the soil and surrounding vegetation.
- 4- Natural Fertilizers: The leftover fish from grizzlies act as natural fertilizers, enriching the soil and creating a thriving habitat for countless other species.
- 5- Coexistence and Cultural Heritage: Grizzlies coexisted with humans for thousands of years, and their return allows us to reconnect with the wild and appreciate the magic of their presence. It restores a piece of our cultural heritage and reminds us of our place in the grand tapestry of life.
So what will prevent this from happening? One of the biggest threats to the Grizzly’s return is local ranchers, who fear the Bears will prey on their stock, even though Grizzly Bears eat a mostly plant based diet.
But just like the Maple Leafs - who showed a glimmer of success this year by winning the first round of the playoffs - if we continue to spread knowledge, compassion and understanding, the Grizzly Bear can, and will, make a comeback that we can all benefit from.
Hooray to our great Grizzly friend, and hooray to conservationist efforts to keep these great predators in the hearts and minds of change makers.
If you’d like to help us, help our planet on the comeback trail to less plastic and emissions, please, CLICK HERE TO VISIT OUR SHOP.
(SIDEBAR: Did you know, over 30% of our revenue goes right back into product development?)
P.S. Sorry (not sorry) to all the Maple Leafs fans on this list… sometimes, when the emperor’s nude, someone has to call it out or things just get weird.