28 Sep 2006

Grizzlies Sighted in Colorado

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Two experienced hunters reported sighting (9/20) a female grizzly bear, accompanied by two cubs, in the vicinity of Independence Pass in Colorado.

The wildlife authorities declared Ursus arctos horribilis extinct in Colorado in 1952.

Not everyone, however, believed that they were right. For many years, sightings of grizzlies continued to be reported in the San Juan Mountains. They were all dismissed by the authorities.

Finally, in 1979, an archery hunter named Ed Wiseman was attacked by an extinct Colorado grizzly. Though severely mauled, Wiseman survived. He miraculously managed to kill the attacking bear, stabbing it repeatedly with a broadhead arrow. Officialdom responded by dispatching teams of learned scientists to trap and tag “Old Ephraim” without success. And the bear returned safely to extinction. Until this month.

News of a surviving grizzly bear population in the Centennial State inevitably throws a monkey wrench into the vexatious quarrel between environmentalists and stockmen about whether or not so large and dangerous a predator ought to be re-introduced.

Some writers have taken an interest in the question of the possibility of a surviving Southern Rockies subspecies.

David Peterson published Ghost Grizzlies (1995) reviewing the evidence, and leaning toward the affirmative.

Rick Bass’s The Lost Grizzlies (also 1995) treats the same question more literarily as a personal, and comedic, quest.

Aspen Daily News

Colorado Springs Gazette

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Colorado’s San Juan Mountains. « The Hieroglyphic Streets

[…] writes about grizzlies. Bass wrote this piece about the bears for Time in 2002. Here’s a 2006 report of a grizzly sighting in the San […]



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