Matthew Inman has a considerable audience with his webcomic The Oatmeal, and he’s put those masses to use with projects such as his Exploding Kittens card game, or to raise money for a museum dedicated to Nikola Tesla. This weekend, he launched a new campaign to help convince the National Park Service to consider a particular course of action for a grizzly bear reintroduction campaign in the North Cascades National Park.
In a new comic, Inman noted that he partnered with a pair of nonprofits that will help make the project a reality: $25,000, and 50,000 comments directed to the Department of the Interior. He’s already donated the money, and uses the comic to encourage people to leave comments in support of Alternative C, Incremental Restoration, helpfully providing a block of text for supporters to copy and paste onto the website.
This spring, the National Park Service put together the draft proposal to figure out how to best restore the region’s grizzly bear populations, which has been reduced due to habitat loss and forest fragmentation. According to the report, the region doesn’t presently have a sustainable population. There’s four courses of action detailed in the plan. Alternative A, mandates no action. Alternative B would implement an “Ecosystem Evaluation Restoration” plan where 10 grizzly bears would be captured and released in the area. Alternative C, which Inman advocates for, is an incremental restoration plan that would release 5–7 bears in 5–10 years. Finally, Alternative D is an expedited restoration plan that would see the release of bears in the area until such time that their restoration goals are reached. The 325-page plan goes into detail about the impact of reintroducing the animals, as well as the costs and scientific rationale.
Inman points out that the comment period is finite, and attached a ticking clock to the bottom of the campaign — just over two days as of right now. There’s no word on exactly how many comments the National Park Service has received because of Inman’s comic, but if past campaigns are any indication, he’s likely directed some traffic to the site.