What makes a species native? A recent story that came my way pointed out that grizzly bears are not native to North America, particularly the lower 48 in the United States. Of course, scientists say the same for humans.
It appears that the bears migrated from Asia and eventually spread across much of Alaska, Canada and some northern regions here. Along the west coast, bears have evolved to eat fish. On this side of the mountains, animals developed a fondness for berries, moose, deer, and fish. If they are here 15,000 years now, do they count as natives? After all, the environment has long since adapted. As was the case with humans and more recently with horses and cattle.
They changed the ecosystem
When the bears arrived they must have been extremely disruptive. I saw a TV show a few years ago that talked about how a bear-like creature that was much faster than today’s species could stop people from crossing the Bering Strait or an ice bridge from Asia. The now extinct creature was like a nightmare.
The fact that environments change and animals come and go raises a question or two about grizzlies. With all the tree-hugging elements fighting to protect them from prey, the animals have no qualms about chasing us. If they qualify as an invasive species depending on your schedule, should we expand bear culling? The fight continues in court.
Do you prefer bears or humans?
While some of the encounters between our kind and their kind are spurred on by jerks on our team, the simple truth is that both populations are growing and on a collision course.
WARNING: These are the deadliest animals in the world