U.S. officials to lift Yellowstone grizzly bear protections

U.S. officials to lift Yellowstone grizzly bear protections

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.announced today that grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.have sufficiently recovered and will be returned to state management.

The Trump administration is removing Endangered Species Act protections for Yellowstone grizzly bears, after they spent more than four decades on the threatened list.

The Yellowstone area grizzly bear has been listed as "Threatened under the Endangered Species act since 1975, when there were only 136 grizzly bears in the Yellowstone area".

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will turn over grizzly bear management to Montana, Idaho and Wyoming by late July.

In an interview on NPR, Nathan Rott explained when grizzlies were first listed under the Endangered Species Act, there were fewer than 150 bears in the region.

The question that has plagued every conversation about Yellowstone grizzlies for well over a year was finally answered today. The GYE population consists of portions of northwestern Wyoming, southwestern Montana and eastern Idaho. Grizzly bear populations outside of this DPS in the lower 48 states will be treated separately under the ESA and will continue to be protected.

Gov. Mead also praised the decision in a news release issued June 22.

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The National Park Service has reopened the Avalanche Lake Trail after the path was closed due to grizzly bear activity.

The Service's determination that an isolated population of 700 grizzlies is fully recovered and no longer in need of federal protections is absurd.

Advocates have spoken out against the federal government's decision, expressing worry over the future of the grizzly bears. In 2013, I asked Secretary Salazar to delist the grizzly bears and much work toward this end has been done.

The three states that will take over jurisdiction of Yellowstone-area bears once federal protections are lifted this summer have submitted management plans that allow for limited hunting. Across the continental US, grizzly bear populations have shrunk from almost 50,000 bears in the 1800s to less than 2,000, total, today. Zinke called the species' recovery "one of America's great conservation successes".

Native American tribes, which revere the grizzly, also have opposed stripping the bear of federal protection. "As a Montanan, I'm proud of what we've achieved together".

Chris Servheen, who retired last year after serving as Fish and Wildlife's grizzly bear recovery coordinator for 35 years, said in an interview this year that the bears were ready for delisting.

The move, which was first proposed by the previous administration of President Barack Obama a year ago, will go into effect 30 days after it is published in the federal register. Brian Nesvik of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and Laurie Wolf of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks both say it's unlikely any hunting will be allowed this year. Grizzlies in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem remain threatened by dwindling food sources, illegal poaching and record-high mortality rates, genetic stress from a lack of connectivity to neighboring sub-populations, and the burgeoning threats of climate change.

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