Three bills push to delist wolves and grizzly bears
Montana lawmakers recently introduced three bills that would remove federal protections from wolves and grizzly bears. Specifically, the bills aim to delist gray wolves nationwide along with grizzly bear populations in Yellowstone and near Glacier National Park, according to Montana Public Radio (MTPR).
Congressman Matt Rosendale spoke to the House Committee of Natural Resources about northwest Montana’s healthy grizzly bear population: “They’re growing around 3% each year in northwestern Montana and they’ve even begun moving outside they’re designated recovery zones. I’m glad we were able to recover from the critically low grizzly bear populations that we saw back in the 70’s, but it has not come without significant drawbacks.”
Rosendale pointed toward an increase in human-grizzly conflicts and livestock depredation.
Yet one of the more vocal supporters of the success of grizzly recovery isn’t advocating for their delisting.
“It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to realize that if grizzly bears were delisted by congressional action and turned over to state management, that the legislatures and governors would do the same thing to grizzly bears that they are currently doing to wolves,” said Chris Servheen, a retired bear biologist. “They would try to legislatively minimize grizzly numbers inside recovery zones and eliminate most grizzly bears outside recovery zones.”
While the bills circulate among the House of Representatives, they will likely die when they reach the Democratic U.S. Senate; however, some say “supporters will try to attach them as riders to other must-pass legislation,” reports MTPR.