California grizzly bears once roamed the entire length of the state, from the Sierras to the coastal regions. Learn about this now-extinct iconic species, discover what it might look like to reintroduce grizzlies to the state, and meet Monarch, one of the last of his species and now part of the Academy’s research collections.


  • On the eve of the Gold Rush in 1848, California contained an estimated 10,000 grizzly bears: one for every 11 people in the state. By 1925, California's grizzlies were gone. Peter Alagona, environmental historian and founder of the California Grizzly Research Network, talks about what made California such a great grizzly habitat, what drove them to extinction, and poses the question if grizzlies could ever be brought back to the state.
  • Did you know that Monarch, one of the last California grizzly bears, lived in Golden Gate Park? Learn more about this California icon with the Academy’s Rebekah Kim, Head Librarian, and Moe Flannery, Collections Manager, Ornithology and Mammalogy. Rebekah will talk about Monarch’s life, how the Academy acquired him, and how he became the model for the California State Flag, while Moe takes you into the collections for a rare look at extinct grizzly bear skulls and Monarch himself.
  • The thought of living alongside a 2,000-pound bear can be a little unsettling, but was the California grizzly bear really that large? Join Alexis Mychajliw, Asst. Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies at Middlebury College, as she examines some of the teeth and skulls from California grizzlies in museum collections. These specimens provide the data to test, and ultimately refute, this estimate made by hyperbolic historical hunters.

All NightLife virtual programming is intended for audiences 21+.



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