Grizzly Bears are an American icon. They have been called a symbol of the Great American West. Many people travel to places where the Grizzly is known to inhabit just for a chance to see them in their natural habitat. In recent years Grizzlies have faced a struggle for survival that has left many people fighting for better protection for the Grizzlies. But aside from ethical and sentimental aspects, why are they important to the ecosystem?
The Grizzly Bears current habitat range extends from Alaska through Western Canada and into some parts of the Northwestern United States such as Idaho, Montana, Washington, and Wyoming. The Grizzly is protected in the United States and Canada but there are problems with them living in areas where there is a lot of human population and there have been numerous conflicts and problems with the bears killing livestock and ruining agriculture.
Grizzly Bears are omnivores that eat both plants and animals. They will hunt and kill large animals such as moose, deer, sheep and bison and also enjoy salmon, trout and bass. They will pack on a lot of weight in preparation for the winter months and hibernate through the winter living off of the stored fat it has accumulated. One of the reasons why grizzlies are important to the ecosystem is they keep other predators, such as cougars, coyotes and foxes at bay.
Grizzlies have been hunted and driven out of many areas, including California, where they were once very plentiful. Due to the ensuing scarcity they have been reintroduced back into North America to regain the biodiversity of the area. In order to answer the question, why are Grizzlies important to the ecosystem, scientists and conservationists have done much research and spent many hours studying the ecosystems where the bears live.
Grizzly bears are terrestrial predators. This means that they affect the ecosystem from the top down. When they are no longer present in the ecosystem ungulate populations can grow out of control and alter the vegetation structure in an area. Another reason why Grizzly Bears are so important to the ecosystem is that they assist the vegetation by doing a lot of digging and foraging. This helps to mix up the nutrient level in the soil which helps to increase the ammonium and nitrate levels of the soil which helps other plants species. This helps the ecosystem where theys live to be more bio diverse and have a more even equilibrium.
So why are Grizzlies important to the ecosystem? Really there are many reason. One important reason is that the scientific community uses this type of bear as an indicator to determine the health of an ecosystem. A strong and flourishing Grizzly Bear population usually means a string and flourishing ecosystem with a thriving flora and fauna landscape.