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Are There Grizzly Bears in California?

Are There Grizzly Bears in California

The California grizzly bear is considered to be extinct, but it’s possible that grizzlies in California might make a comeback in the future. 

The California grizzly bear was considered extinct up until 2014. However, with modern technology and the latest science, it’s possible to reintroduce the grizzly bear thanks to backward engineering. The last time a California grizzly bear was seen in the wild was 1922 when the last specimen was shot.

Why are California Grizzly Bears Extinct?

Grizzly bear with two cubs

The California grizzly bear is extinct because it was actively hunted for many centuries. California bears were attacking cattle and livestock as well as humans, so they were often shot and hunted.

The California grizzly bear was a large and scary animal. It weighed up to 1000 pounds and might have reached sizes of up to 8 feet. It was one of the most fearsome animals around as it was also quite aggressive and it attacked almost anything that came into its path, so humans avoided them.

When the first European settlers came into California, it is believed that there were around 10,000 California grizzly bears roaming around. These bears were feeding on other animals in the habitat and became the leading member of the structure. So when humans came into the area in the 18th century, the California grizzly bear had to give way.

Grizzlies in the rest of the USA and Canada are considered vulnerable to extinction for similar reasons.

grizzly bear

In the early 18th century, there were already first accounts of the California grizzly bear. This animal had a varied diet – from vegetables and fruits to animals that they could hunt, such as deer and even fish. The California grizzly bear also attacked livestock and ranches, so they became enemies of the ranchers.

Eventually, the ranchers and the local farmers organized hunts on these bears. They created baits with strychnine that would poison the bears, but they also used guns to hunt them down. Some farmers even paid bounties for the person that would hunt bears around the area where the farmer lived.

By the end of the 19th century, the California grizzly bear was almost extinct. The last account of a killing of a California grizzly bear came in 1922 when such a grizzly bear was shot and killed. Since then, the California grizzly bear is considered to be an extinct species, but that might change in the future. The last sighting of a Cali grizzly bear is from 1924.

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Will California Grizzly Bears Come Back?

grizzly bear

It is possible that the California grizzly bear might make a comeback. This could happen through a process of de-extinction, which can be used to bring an extinct species back thanks to science and the latest technologies.

In 2014, there was a petition arranged to bring back grizzly bears to California, but it was rejected by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. But this is not the last chance that a grizzly bear might make a comeback into California.

The other possibility of how a California grizzly bear could come back is through a process of de-extinction. There have been many debates as to whether the California grizzly bear should be allowed to come back through this process, considering how much harm and damage the bear did in the past.

Grizzly Bears

With de-extinction, it’s possible to bring back an extinct species by creating a species that resembles the extinct species. This could be done with cloning, but it’s also possible thanks to selective breeding to create a species that would look like the original species. Some attempts have already been made with smaller mammals.

The California grizzly bear would be a candidate for de-extinction, but it’s not very likely. The reason for this is that this bear has already caused a lot of damage in the past. The reason why it is today extinct is that it was considered to be a pest in the wild since it attacked humans and cattle very often. Any attempt like this would probably be rejected.

However, the possibility of a comeback is still there. Before this could happen, there would possibly be many debates and arguments as to whether it should happen or not. In the end, it’s not very likely that it will happen.

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What Type of Bear was the California Grizzly Bear?

Two bears showing their teeth

The California grizzly bear was a large and heavy bear that was quite aggressive towards other animals. It weighed up to 2000 pounds and was around 8 feet large in size, making it one of the largest bears in the world.

Compared to today’s bear breeds and species, the California bear was among the largest of them all. When the European settlers first met this bear, they first described it as “horrible, fierce, large, and fat”. Needless to say, they were intimidated by this giant beast, not only because it attacked their livestock, but also because of its appearance.

The California grizzly bear certainly stood up against the humans that wanted to hunt it down. There were many deaths caused by the mauling of the California grizzly bear. Because of its size and pure strength, the bear would offer humans no chance of escape should they get into a fight.

That’s why humans started using different techniques for hunting down these bears. THe most popular one was setting up baits for hunting the California grizzly bear. These baits were often pieces of meat that contained strychnine or another chemical that would disable or kill the California grizzly bear.

Until humans arrived in California, this grizzly bear was by far the most dominant species in the area. 

Related Article: Do Grizzly Bear Live in The Forest?

Conclusion

The California grizzly bear is an extinct species that lived in California until 1924. It was a large species that dominated its area by hunting down other animals. Today, this animal is extinct, but it’s possible that it would make a comeback in the future since it is considered to be a good candidate for de-extinction.

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