Isn’t it time we re-introduced Arctodus Simas?
A Fringe Plea for Reason
There was a time, not so long ago, when Arctodus roamed California in large numbers. This happy go lucky bear freely roamed throughout the U.S. but was particularly numerous here in California. No doubt thousands of Arctodus, also known as the Giant Short Faced Bear (we’ll call him “Shorty”) frolicked here in Sierra County. It is possible some of us had ancestors who ate or were eaten by Shorty. Yet, where are they today? Can Sierra County really be Sierra County without the reintroduction of this largest land carnivore of its day?
It’s been longer than anyone can remember since Shorty was seen locally. Very likely the last one was here during the Younger Dryas at the end of the Pleistocene era. What caused their demise? Three things: warm weather, loss of habitat, and Clovis people. And grizzly bears, which moved in from Asia and were smarter and faster than Shorty, so, four things.
The weather at the end of the Pleistocene took a sudden cold dip for 1500 or so years, then warmed up. It is supposed the disappearance of large grazers like the American Horse, the Mammoth, the Mastodon, and Giant Bison caused Shorty to disappear. One reason was global climate change, sure, but another was the great increase in the number of Clovis people moving into the area. Like Shorty, they were great scavengers, they competed for food with Shorty, and spread disease. In the end, it likely was the influx of Clovis people, and the grizzly bear, which closed the book on Shorty. And climate change, if you believe in such things. Isn’t it time this pristine animal was re-introduced.
Giant Short Nosed Bear, Yippee! Original photo source unknown; we found it HERE
But wait, you might say, isn’t Shorty extinct? Our reply: first things first. Before we re-introduce Shorty to the wild, we have to make sure the wilderness is ready to receive him. We recommend the following strategy:
1. 1. Kill all grizzlies in California.
2. 2. Identify the Clovis people, arrest them on sight and send them back to Cloveland without a hearing.
3. 3. Cool the county down. It is possible the California Department of Fish and Game could declare Sierra County an “ice age” county. A plan is in formation which would allow giant freezers to be erected at the Yuba Pass, to be powered by the entire output of the Loyalton Cogen Plant. It would create jobs.
Sierra Valley ranchers could produce the cattle to replace the once abundant mega fauna of the old days.
We can do this! The only people who have to accept the reality of evolution are losers, people who can’t dream of something better and get grants. Grants are a big part of a project like this.
Some might suggest we could stop spending money on watershed restoration and spend money instead on the return of the Giant Beaver, an 800 lb. rodent that could correct Perazzo meadows practically overnight. Indeed, a great idea would be to found a non-profit to save Shorty, and when that money dries up, get Prop 84 money to re-introduce the Giant Beaver. We’ll populate the board of directors with friends and keep each other in jobs for years. Who knows, eventually maybe Arctodus will return, if we spend enough grant money and hope and hope!
Everybody now, hope and hope!
Good luck, Shorty!