Federal protections may end for grizzlies in Yellowstone and Glacier
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is evaluating “substantial” information regarding grizzly bear recovery in the areas around Yellowstone and Glacier national parks. This could mean the end of federal protections under the Endangered Species Act for the animals; however, federal protections would remain for grizzlies outside of the targeted areas, according to the Associated Press.
Idaho’s push to end protections for grizzly bears across the country were rejected by federal officials who said that “new laws from the Republican-led states … could potentially harm grizzly populations.”
“We will fully evaluate these and other potential threats,” said Martha Williams, FWS director.
Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte supported the announcement, stating that the “grizzly’s recovery ‘represents a conservation success.’”
However, it will take at least a year of study to determine whether protections should be lifted and if state management and hunting seasons are ways to keep grizzly populations sustainable. Hunts, if offered, would be on a limited basis with a set quota.
Grizzly bear-human conflicts have increased in the Glacier and Yellowstone areas due to an expanded range for the animals, resulting in fatal bear attacks and reports of livestock depredation. The decision to re-evaluate federal protections for grizzlies is complex and there are many supporters and opponents to the verdict.
“You have so many opinions and some of them are not based on science, but the biologists are the ones that know the facts about what the populations are and what should be considered a goal for each area,” said Dave Evans, a hunting guide with Wood River Ranch in Meeteetse, Wyoming. “If you’re going to manage grizzly bears, there’s a sustainable number that needs to be kept in balance. I’m not a biologist, but I would follow the science.”
Stay tuned to GOHUNT for further details.