David Letterman and Jack Hanna, who were showing off the two rescued mountain lion cubs on The Late Show the other night, would have been interested to hear that a Montana school near Letterman’s ranch was on lockdown Monday….due to grizzly bears.
I called the front desk at the high school in Choteau, where it was confirmed that students were on lockdown during first period Monday. This, after grizzly bears were spotted near the school. The gal at the front desk told me, “It usually happens about once a year. Sometimes it’s mountain lions. Sometimes it’s grizzly bears.”
I think we can all be thankful that this time a school lockdown was due to wildlife…
This real-world story is also a reminder of the current strength of grizzly habitat in Montana, which makes Dave Skinner’s latest column about the loss of timber jobs all the more pressing.
The Flathead Beacon- What a Country: What is the point of this exercise? To save grizzly bears? Not really – after all, satellite-collar tracks in the Swan pretty much prove seasonal access management works pretty well.
According to the University of Montana, the home range of a female grizzly is, translated to acres, 32,000 to 96,000 acres. A 1997 paper by FWP biologists Rick Mace and John Waller gives a home range for Swan Range grizzly females (those road-running, logging-unit tramping hussies) of between 11,366 to 67,212 acres, with some overlap.
Now, pretend you offered to buy this land to protect that bear and a half. Because it has not been roaded or logged, there’s probably a good bit of wood on it, say two grand an acre. Hmmm, that’s $73 million or so. At three bears a pop, the up-front cost of “saving” each bear is $21 million each. At a capital service benchmark of 6 percent, the annual cost per three bears, per year each, is $1.468 million a year, $4.04 million total.
Do you think Earthjustice, with $38 million in income and a $21 million payroll (2012), or NRDC ($97 million revenues, $46 million payroll) might ante up? Of course not. Why should they, when the law allows them a reliable means of sticking others with irrational, unbearable costs?