AGERANGE: Ages 8 to 12.
Many species of animals that live in the United States have become endangered. Nine books in the "America's Animal Comebacks" series chronicle this problem and what has been done to keep these animals from becoming extinct. In many cases, the work of one or two naturalists has been pivotal to recognizing the problem and taking steps to reverse the trends. John and Frank Craighead realized while working with grizzlies in Yellowstone National Park that the bears were dying out. In the early 1700s, there were about 100,000 grizzlies roaming western North America. As pioneers, lumber and oil companies moved west, the grizzlies' habitat began to shrink. Grizzlies were also hunted because they occasionally attacked livestock. By 1935, there were only a few hundred grizzlies left. In order to try to save the bears, the Craigheads needed to learn more about how they lived. They put radio collars on some of the bears. One thing they discovered is that grizzlies are big eaters, about 90 pounds a day. Yellowstone had garbage dumps that attracted the bears. They were close to the campsites, which created a problem. For a number of years, there were up to fifty bear attacks a year. Despite the protests of the Craigheads, the dumps were closed abruptly and many bears died. Finally in 1975, the government took action and listed grizzlies as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Bears still need to be protected to keep their numbers from dwindling. People also need to learn bear safety. The text is illustrated with numerous large photographs. An addendum contains a list of grizzly facts, a glossary, a bibliography, and a list of web resources. Reviewer: KristinHarris