Importance of Natural Resources

California Grizzly – Yosemite Nature Notes – Episode 30


[music, drumming] [ethereal music] MAN: Some people believe that the word Yosemite
comes from the word for grizzly bear. Grizzly bears have a very strong
connection to Yosemite, Although it’s been a very long time since we’ve
seen one in Yosemite. The Miwok people in Yosemite Valley
were divided into moieties. There were people south of the river were
named for coyote: aheli. and they were water people. People north of the river were land people and
they were named for grizzly bear, or uzumati, mati referring to bear, uzu referring to grizzly. The black bear was called humati. For the Miwok people, the grizzly bear was the for lack of a better term, “spirit
animal”, the protector of the people. WOMAN: People are fascinated by grizzlies.
They kind of embody these human traits that we as a culture admire: persistence
never-say-die, undaunted. and so we raised the animal to this icon that we
think exemplifies our better natures. This depiction of the grizzly as being
heroic and iconic for the state of California. MAN: Every Californian had seen that image
of a grizzly bear on our flag, and that matters. That tells us that it matters. The places where people live now were
fully populated by grizzly bears. Grizzly bears dining on whale carcasses on the beach, were now people lounge and relax. There were grizzly bears where Los Angeles is now. There were lots of grizzly bears where
San Francisco is today. So to go from 10,000 grizzly bears
estimated to live in California at the time of statehood to none by 1925,
75 years later it’s really quite startling We have lost something that we’re mostly
not aware of, something that used to be so numerous and we hunted them to extinction. The grizzly bears presence in Yosemite
was one of the many things that added to its wildness that we’re now missing. and I think it’s important for us to know about
where the name Yosemite comes from for us to know about a character like Grizzly Adams. BEN: Grizzly Adams was one of the shows
when I was growing up as a kid You got this hairy old guy,
got a bear as his best friend. [music] So most people don’t realize that Grizzly Adams was a real person He capitalizes on the romance and
the mystique of the frontiersman, and has what he calls the “Mountaineer Museum” right in San Francisco, on Clay Street,
where you can come and see his live menagerie of grizzly bears, black bears, eagles, all sorts of things. He describes having a base of operations
or a hunting camp near or in Yosemite at the headwaters of the Merced River SUSUAN: He sometimes would find a denning female kill the mother, take the cub and raise it. PETE: and one of these cubs became his
most famous bear Benjamin Franklin well enough known as a resident of San Francisco that when he died in 1858 there
was an obituary written for him titled the “Death of a Distinguished Native Californian” Grizzly Adams himself passes away two
years later in 1860 and is buried in his home state of Massachusetts. We don’t know
what became of the remains of Ben Franklin. [ethereal music] SUSAN: There are a lot of good stories
about the last grizzlies. Wallmans’ bear was one of them. PETE: We have a fascinating
account from 1887 written up by a rancher named Robert Wellman,
who describes the killing of what some considered to be the
last grizzly in Yosemite . Wellman is a stockman he’s running
cattle near a place called Crescent Lake in the south part of Yosemite and he finds a carcass of one
of his cattle and he finds bear tracks around this carcass and he realizes
there’s a grizzly bear here. so he goes to Jim Duncan, who’s his nearest neighbor.
Duncan is a bear hunter. Duncan is skeptical but he sees the size of the
track and he says, honest to goodness this is a grizzly bear, let’s see we can
do to get it. It takes them several days of hard work but they are successful in killing
the grizzly, which Jim Duncan then sells to Thomas Hill, the Yosemite
painter, who displays the hide on the walls of his studio in Wawona. Eventually the grizzly pelt is given to
the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology in Berkeley and that’s where it is today. it’s one of the very few remnants of the
last of the Californian Grizzlies. SUSAN: I believe we are less when we don’t have
grizzlies and wolves and mountain lions these all make up the world that we’re a
part of and so we have to be aware of the animals and plants that are left to us,
to realize how quickly they can be gone. BEN: Yeah, it would be nice to see the
California grizzly back, but I think we’ve reached a point of no return for
some of those animal species and we just have to learn from our mistakes and
prevent it from happening to other animals. PETE: Perhaps we shouldn’t take over
every wild place and every wild thing. That we should make space for wild
animals, for plants that are rare, for landscapes that are rare.
That should be important to us.


Reader Comments

  1. male logic: unless you 'love something' you have to wipe it out, kill it. it has no right to exist on its own, in its own system of existence. its existence has to be contingent to 'if the man likes it, or loves it, or hates it', and that will decide its fate. very high intelligence is obvious. so it is in every species and beings best bet to 'have (hope) the man love it' = survival.

  2. So question: why doesn't California bring some grizzlies from Alaska and release them in Yosemite?. Would they survive given the climate differences?.

  3. The grizzly lived mostly along the coast lines and valleys, not up in our mountains like black bears. Reintroduction would be impossible, as much as I wish it to happen.

  4. I believe we should re-introduce the Grizzly to the Sierras. It, along with the wolf, needs to com back to the area and take back it's home.

  5. Great fill Yosemite back up with Grizzly Bears and Mountain Lions .
    Bet I get a Camping spot next year , WHAT ? Oh don't worrie they'll be a spot for y'all the year after that .

  6. But they will return due to one animal, Wolves. They've been enemy's in north america. I predict the'll be back in 2018-2025

  7. The very last grizzly bear spotted in California , was in 1922, in Sequoia National Forest. Even the Black bear population seems to be dwindling.

  8. Why can’t we bring the grizzly back to Yosemite? While the California grizzly might be extinct I feel that a close cousin like the Kodiak grizzly could be a viable option to release in Yosemite. We have done the same thing with wolves in Yellowstone and seen phenomenal ecological effects that helped the environment greatly.

  9. Are grizzly bears compatible with human populations? I'm not rooting for people necessarily, considering how so many of them bring the trashy products of mindless consumerism wherever they go (loud urban music and patio furniture in Yosemite camps, for example). But at the same time would it not be dangerous to come upon a grizzly bear when one was hiking alone in the higher reaches of the Sierra? Encounters with large bears in wilderness areas does not sound like a good idea.

  10. We should reintroduce grizzlies to the Yosemite area, along with wolves. Lots of people in the comments have been saying that they're too dangerous to have around and it would ruin the park, but Yellowstone did it and ( in my opinion ) it is the best national Park. People think that national parks are just there for amusement, but they were originally made to protect the ecosystem and it's wildlife. I'm not saying grizzlies aren't dangerous animals. They're basically 10 foot monsters with four inch claws, but we made the national parks to protect what little of the wild we have left, we shouldn't be able to pick and choose what we want to keep. Lots of people don't do research and just go with their gut. For example wolves are huge controversial issue. Especially in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem. This is ignorant, only two people in recent history have been killed in North America by wild wolves, one in Alaska and one in Canada. also the guy in Canada I was feeding them so he doesn't count. When they re-introduced wolves to Yellowstone it pretty much fixed it, The elk population was brought back to a stable level, and due to that lots of other wildlife came back and the rivers were fixed. ( if the river part seems confusing just look it up and read about it ). Having wolves is beneficial to the environment and has no drawbacks to humans. Humans just get nervous about them because they are predators, in Alaska 5 to 10 people are injured by a moose annually, that's more than black bears and grizzlies combined.To sum it up The parks aren't there for us to be in some plastic model of nature that we made, the parks are there for us to protect what exists. And if you choose to enter the realm of a dangerous animal, then that's your choice. For example as a wildlife photographer I have photographed wild grizzly bears in Alaska, on the foot at close distance. I was respectful, kept my mouth shut and they left me alone. If I had died that's my own damn fault because I chose to be there. But we shouldn't pass up an opportunity to bring back a native animal because you think it's too dangerous. If you believe it's too risky to be in a national park with grizzly bears , then don't go to the national Park. Let the people that want to experience a truly wild place go. And if they die they chose to be there.

  11. Unfortunately the tourist industry has capitalized on Yosemite valley. It is more and more spoiled every year. Restoration efforts would be abandoned for a Starbucks coffee shop.

  12. It is so sad story. In past regular people killed animals in hunts becouse of lack of conscience. Even more depressing that we live XXI century and now regular people would like to do something but it is to late… huge corporations and business affaires will finish what left from wildlife. ???

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