The majestic grizzly bear.
Image Source: John Nickles, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
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Fact: It is estimated that early California was once occupied by 10,000 grizzly bears. They were so numerous, that they reportedly congregated in large herds. Can you imagine a herd of grizzly bears in present day California? Sadly, the California grizzly is now extinct, the last of its kind captured and recorded for posterity by 1889 newspaper reporter, Allen Kelly, who was sent out by his boss, William Randolph Hearst to find the last wild California grizzly bear. The resulting captured animal was named the Monarch Bear, and was donated to a zoo where it lived for many years. The Monarch Bear was so widely acclaimed, that it was even used as the model for the California brown bear when the State Flag was adopted in 1911. Source: The Monarch Bear and A Tribute to Monarch, the Grizzly Bear, by Lesa Johnston
Quote: "For their emblem they chose the strongest and largest of the animals of California, the grizzly bear. The flag was made of a Mexican rebosa or scarf of unbleached muslin... To the bottom of this they sewed a strip of red flannel; in one corner they outlined a five-pointed star, and facing it a grizzly bear. These were filled in with red ink and under them in black letters were the words 'California Republic.'" Source: History of California, by Helen Elliot Bandini
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