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Editor: 

Last year, grizzly bears were removed from protection of the Endangered Species Act. Currently, the grizzly population in the lower 48 states is less than two percent of their pre-settlement population and they occupy such a small region in the Yellowstone Ecosystem. Despite the fact their numbers are very small, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department will allow in September for the grizzly to be hunted, including the females. Allowing for these trophy hunts will invariably give rise to their extinction.

Are we willing to risk losing this keystone species from our ecosystem? According to David Suzuki, an award-winning scientist and environmentalist, grizzly bears are “ecosystem engineers” and help regulate prey species, disperse seeds of many plants, and aerate soil when digging for roots and pine nuts. Dr. Stephen Herrero, a Canadian doctor of animal behavior and ecology reports; “Grizzly bears are indicators of sustainable development and when viable populations exist, the landscape is being managed sustainably.”

At this moment, our ecosystem which includes keystone species such as the grizzly bear are in peril. If we do not forecast and protect our ecosystem now, the species that exist today will be gone tomorrow.

Governor Mead can affect the faith of the grizzly population and put a stop to these trophy hunts. Please contact Governor Mead and tell him grizzlies deserve protection to co-exist as a keystone species in our ecosystem.

NICOLE ROJAS, Willow Springs, Illinois 

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