Bearish on the Grizzlies

Conservationists debate how to save the great beasts

Before the white man came, the Indians venerated them as gods. Weighing as much 1,000 Ibs. and rearing up to 8 ft. on their hind legs, the great humpbacked beasts—among the largest carnivores in North America—can kill an elk or crumple the fender of a car with a swipe of a powerful paw. Still, for all its might, the grizzly, or more properly Ursus arctos horribilis (terrible northern bear), has become pathetically vulnerable.

In the early 1800s, when Lewis and Clark made their famous survey (and hesitated to send off scouts by themselves for fear...

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