In this week's issue, Kate Sheppard explores the fate of one of America's most iconic species -- the grizzly bear.
Today, the grizzly population stands at more than 700, up from a mere 136 in 1975. As the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service prepares to potentially remove the bear from the endangered species list, some environmentalists and scientists are protesting and calling the move premature.
They point to a beetle infestation that has been killing whitebark pine trees across Montana, Wyoming and Idaho, which started back in 2003 and grew to staggering levels by 2009. What does this mean for grizzlies? The trees produce cones that contain pine seeds, which are a source of food for the bears.
The government is more optimistic about the bears' ability to survive without whitebark. "Bears are omnivorous. They use a wide variety of foods," said Christopher Servheen, the grizzly bear recovery coordinator for the Fish and Wildlife Service. "They're not dependent on whitebark. They eat it when it's available. When it's not available, they eat other stuff."
According to some studies, however, the pine seeds may offer unique benefits that other sources of food cannot. "If the bears can eat the pine seeds, for example," Kate writes, "they are less likely to go foraging for other food, a search that can increase the likelihood that they will encounter humans and be killed. Other studies have found that female bears with access to whitebark pine seeds give birth to more cubs."
In our Voices section, Leena Suleiman describes the out-of-body experience she had while wearing a knit hat and scarf over her hijab. "Women would speak to me like I'd known them forever," she writes. "Men would look at me like I was actually approachable." For Suleiman, the moment drastically altered her entire perception of the world: "I had always thought that the type of treatment I am exposed to is just how the world is. I didn't know that people could be nicer."
And finally, I'm excited to present an excerpt from my upcoming book, Thrive, which is about redefining success by going beyond the first two metrics of money and power and making room for a third metric based on well-being, wisdom, wonder and giving. It's a book that's rooted in my own personal journey, and it's filled with tools and practical advice to help readers redefine success and live lives that are more fulfilling and more sustainable. I hope you come away from it with as much perspective as I gained while writing it.
A special thanks to Jill Greenberg for the stunning grizzly bear image on this week's Huffington cover. You can find more of her work on display at ClampArt.
This story appears in Issue 89 of our weekly iPad magazine, Huffington, available Friday, Feb. 21 in the iTunes App store.