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Where will grizzly bears roam?
Date:6/21/2011

The independent assessment, written by WCS Senior Conservation Scientist Dr. John Weaver, is a compilation and synthesis of the latest information on these species and how climate change may affect them from 30 biologists in the region and from nearly 300 scientific papers. In addition, Weaver spent four months hiking and riding horseback through these remote roadless areas to evaluate their importance for conservation.

The Crown of the Continent is a trans-border ecosystem of dramatic landscapes, pristine water sources, and diverse wildlife that stretches more than 250 miles along the Rocky Mountains from Glacier National Park-Bob Marshall Wilderness in Montana north to the Canadian Rockies. Weaver focused his assessment on public lands in the Montana portion one of the most spectacular and intact ecosystems remaining in the lower 48 states. Since 1910 when Glacier National Park was established, citizens and government representatives have worked hard to protect the core wildlands and wildlife in this region.

"These visionary leaders left a great gift and remarkable legacy," said Dr. Weaver, "But new data and emerging threats like climate change indicate it may not have been enough. There is a rare opportunity now to complete the legacy of conservation for present and future generations."

Weaver added: "To help vulnerable fish and wildlife cope with new challenges, we need to build upon existing protected areas and enhance connectivity across diverse habitats."

Accordingly, Weaver mapped the distribution of six species: grizzly bear, wolverine, mountain goat, bighorn sheep, bull trout, and westslope cutthroat trout, and identified their current and future habitats and the connections between them.

For example, native bull trout require colder water than other fish, especially for spawning and survival of young fry. With streams warming due to climate change, protection of clear, cold, and well-connected streams
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Contact: Scott Smith
ssmith@wcs.org
406-533-9222 x116
Wildlife Conservation Society
Source:Eurekalert  

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