Grizzlies May Return To Utah

Jun 19, 2014

A petition seeking expansion for grizzly bear territory, including the Uintas, was released Thursday morning by the Center for Biological Diversity.

Noah Greenwald, the center’s endangered species director, discussed the basics of the petition.

"It's a petition to the Fish and Wildlife Services to revive their 1993 recovery plan for the bear," he said. "In 2011 they reviewed their plan and determined that the 1993 plan was outdated and that they needed to consider additional areas. This petition is basically asking them to do things they have already acknowledged they need to do."

Greenwald said the western United States used to be the home to this endangered bear. 

"Grizzly bears once roamed widely in Utah including in the Uinta Mountains," he said. "They play an important role in the ecosystem. Much like wolves, they serve to regulate deer and elk populations." 

While he acknowledges bears are dangerous, he said there are many benefits to grizzlies living in Utah such as boosting Utah's tourism. 

"It will most likely have a positive impact on people in the sense that they are a tourist draw; people come to see grizzly bears," he said. 

The petition is currently being reviewed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.