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Group wants state to study reintroducing grizzly bears

Group wants state to study reintroducing grizzly bears
A grizzly bear roams near Beaver Lake in Yellowstone National Park, Wyo., in 2011. The Center for Biological Diversity wants California officials to study whether the bear could be reintroduced to California. (Jim Urquhart / Associated Press)

A conservation group is asking state officials to study reintroducing the grizzly bear to the Sierra Nevadas.

The Center for Biological Diversity, based in Oakland, is collecting signatures on a petition that asks the California Fish and Game Commission to conduct a feasibility study on grizzly reintroduction. Scientists with the center identified about 8,000 square miles that could be appropriate for grizzlies, mainly in the state's largest mountain range.

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So far, about 12,000 people have signed the petition.

California officials have said it would be difficult to reintroduce grizzlies, which once roamed the the state but disappeared from California in the early 1900s.

"Before you dismiss it, let's do a feasibility study," said Jeff Miller, a conservation advocate with the center.

The group filed a petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to expand its grizzly recovery plan in 2014 to include California's biggest mountain range, but that request was denied.

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