The Return of the Grizzly – Adult Book Recommendation

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Title: The Return of the Grizzly – Sharing the Range with Yellowstone’s top Predator

Author: Cat Urbigkit

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing, 2018

Ages: adult

Themes: ecosystem, conflict, predators, grizzly bears, Wyoming, protection, federal and state regulations, Yellowstone, animal advocacy, 



It took searchers three hours to locate the man’s body. When sixty-three-year-old Lance Crosby failed to show up for his 8 a.m. shift at Lake Medical Clinic in Yellowstone National Park on August 7, 2015, park officials were alerted and emergency response teams swung into action. One search and rescue team embraced via boat to check the lakeshore, while others set out on foot to search three trails popular with seasonal workers staying in the nearby government housing. On searcher hiked up the steep Elephant Black Trail, soon coming on the grisly scene just off the path; hiking boots protruding from an animal burial mound located on a forest ridge.


The Yellowstone grizzly population has grown from an estimated 136 bears when first granted federal protection as a threatened species to as many as 1,000 grizzlies in a tri-state region today. No longer limited to remote wilderness areas, grizzlies now roam throughout the region—in state parks, school playgrounds, residential subdivisions, on farms and ranches, and in towns and cities throughout the region.

Return of the Grizzly tells the story of the successful effort to recover this large carnivore, the policy changes and disputes between bear managers and bear advocates, and for the first time, provides insight to what recovery means for the people who now live with grizzlies across a broad landscape. From cowboys on horseback chased by a charging grizzly, and grizzlies claiming game animals downed by human hunters, to the numerous self-defense killing of grizzlies that occur each year, the manuscript examines increases in conflicts and human fatalities caused by grizzlies in this ecosystem inhabited by humans who live there year-round. Human–bear interactions, grizzly attacks and deaths, avoiding attacks, effects on agriculture, wildlife protesters, the consequences of bear habituation, and more are all covered. (Publisher)

Why I like this book:

I am a passionate environmentalist but no scientist and no expert in grizzlies, or laws protecting them, but I thoroughly enjoyed this incredibly well-researched book by Cat Urbigkit. I can see Cat’s journalist training in her ability to take dense legal material and departmental decision-making on behalf of both the grizzlies and local human population and season these dry details with so many personal stories that the material is never too dry or complex for the novice. At the same time for those seeking accurate statistics, policies and reasoning behind decisions for both bear advocates and bear managers, the detail is meticulous and methodically laid out.

Height: 3- 3 ½ feet at shoulders.
Length: 6-7 feet.
Weight: Adult males 300 – 850 lbs; females 200 – 450 lbs.
Top speed 35 mph.
Lifespan 20 – 25 years.

Grizzly Bear Range                                                                                                                    Grizzly bears are found in a variety of habitats, from dense forests, to subalpine meadows and arctic tundra. In North America, grizzly bears are found in western Canada, Alaska, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and Washington. Historically, they could be found from Alaska to Mexico, California to Ohio. The grizzly bear was once common on the Great Plains. However, human encroachment has forced the remaining brown bear populations to move to rugged mountains and remote forests that are undisturbed by humans.

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