Grizzly Bears Might Return to California. Is the State Ready?

Researchers say the bears could be reintroduced to the West Coast — if the region can bear it.


Although the state flag suggests otherwise, nearly a century has passed since grizzlies roamed California.

The last resident bear, reportedly spotted in 1924, was also the last of its subspecies: Ursus arctos californicus. These California grizzlies had reached an estimated population of 10,000 before Europeans arrived and triggered their steady demise.

Peter Alagona, an associate professor of history and environmental studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, is convinced that one day grizzlies can return to California. “Reintroduction is possible,” he says. “Absolutely possible.”

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