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FWS sued over possible killing of grizzly bears near Yellowstone

FWS sued over possible killing of grizzly bears near Yellowstone

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is under fire again for a plan that would allow them to kill 72 grizzly bears near Yellowstone National Park to limit livestock depredation. This week, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Sierra Club sued FWS in an effort to halt a federally-approved grazing program “in the Bridger-Teton National Forest” that “violates the Endangered Species Act,” The Missoula Current reports.

“It’s outrageous that the feds are caving to the livestock industry by allowing dozens of grizzly bears to be killed in their crucial habitats on public lands,” said Andrea Santarsiere, an attorney with CBD. “Yellowstone’s grizzly bears are a national treasure that should be protected, not slaughtered.”

The lawsuit alleges that the area known as the Upper Green River Area Rangeland Project, which is 170,000 acres, is “natural habitat for grizzly bears and other threatened species,” according to The Missoula Current. It includes the headwaters of the Green and Gros Ventre rivers and one particular grazing allotment is only 30 miles from Grand Teton National Park. 

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While grazing was approved in 2019, it was only after FWS consulted with the U.S. Forest Service to determine if federal grazing would impact the grizzly bear population. According to The Missoula Current, FWS’s plan doesn’t outline killing bears inside of Yellowstone. Instead, it permits lethal removal if the bears “wander into an area where bear-livestock conflicts could transpire.” By establishing the grazing area near prime grizzly bear habitat, FWS determined that while the likelihood of more grizzly bear deaths was inevitable to keep livestock depredation down, “conservation measures would be enough to keep deaths to a manageable level” and that “the deaths of 72 grizzly bears over the 10-year period of the grazing program” would not detrimentally impact the population of grizzly bears in the greater Yellowstone area.

“Grazing is an appropriate use of the national forest and is important to the community economically and socially,” said Rob Hoelscher, district ranger for the Bridger Teton National Forest. 

However, Bonnie Rice of the Sierra Club does not agree and says that livestock managers should be required to reduce bear-livestock conflicts through a variety of methods like “range riders, guard dogs and close herding of cattle.” 

“There are proven, effective ways to prevent conflicts between bears and livestock to keep both safe,” said Rice. “Allowing another 72 grizzlies to be killed without first requiring conflict prevention practices by livestock producers is unconscionable.”

9 Comments

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Gregory H. - posted 1 month ago on 04-07-2020 03:51:20 pm
Brookhaven Georgia
goHUNT INSIDER

Can someone explain why hunters who pay the burden for everything anyhow aren't allowed to get tags to hunt them in lieu of some bureaucrat sharpshooter?? Why not raise good revenue.?

Tim E. - posted 1 month ago on 04-04-2020 11:53:42 am
Cheyenne, WY
goHUNT INSIDER

Management of wildlife should be left to those whom have the actual data like state biologists that study these animals. Politically and emotionally driven ideals have no place in the management of wild spaces. This area is over an hour drive from the border of Yellowstone, so for those of you "do-gooders" that signed up on a hunting service website to comment on your teddy bear agenda, stick to subjects you actually have some knowledge in.

Joseph H. - posted 1 month ago on 04-03-2020 06:02:22 pm
goHUNT INSIDER

Actually they should sell the hunts and raise some revenue.

Joseph H. - posted 1 month ago on 04-03-2020 06:00:48 pm
goHUNT INSIDER

There’s more than enough bears! The elk and deer will appreciate the help to!

Lauren C. - posted 1 month ago on 04-03-2020 10:21:51 am

I'm a Florida native and FWC and the governor at that time was Rick Scott who was in bed with Developers in South Florida decided to have a Florida Black Bear Hunt in 2015 because the bears were going to the important palmetto berries that they thrive on. Well a gated community had been built right in the middle of the palmerto woods and the bears decided to get into the trash cans. Scott was influenced and had the hunt even after 75% of Florida voters voted NO to the hunt. It was a massacre. Sows with Cubs were killed, cubs were shot and thrown into the river. People went outside the perimeters. The hunters coming into register their kills came in with sows, younger bears under the legal weight. They were passed by FWC. Ted Nugent, trophy Hunter registered but asked to be anonymous came and bagged over the limit. FWC was been sued by so many Floridians, they couldn't keep up. The haven't had a hunt since then. Has anyone started an Online Petition against this kill? There are some online petition sites where a petition and back story can be posted. Good Luck! P. S. Maybe suggest that the Grizzlies could have a sit down with the FWS Board of Trustees that made the decision that the bears should disappear.

Mitzi G. - posted 1 month ago on 04-03-2020 09:53:43 am

Leave the Bears alone, this isn't cattle land, ranchers if you put cattle out, free for all! Guard your cattle with dogs, range riders..do not kill the bears, that's there LAND!

Rob D. - posted 1 month ago on 04-03-2020 04:11:34 am

The FWS is the same bunch of dirtbags that lied to us about wolf reintroduction and now they think they should be trusted to manage Montana's grizzleys . Wrong ! If they want to reduce large predators they can start with thier illegally introduced wolves and leave the bears alone . They are a nstive animal here . Canadian greys are NOT !

Tonya G. - posted 1 month ago on 04-03-2020 12:42:44 am

Us fish and wildlife service need to be dismantled. Those bears belong where they are. What the hell are you guys doing ? Turning yellowstone into a cattle ranch . My heart goes out to future generations as daily our beautiful planet disappears under concrete and cow shit. America has turned into a killing field. You kill the buffalo, now the Grizzlies. Where is the logic? This land is our land and so are the animals on it. Back off ,for the love of God.

White R. - posted 1 month ago on 04-02-2020 10:30:09 pm

Put it this way. Would you go sleeping in a known bear area with out protection? But you own cattle & have the means to protect them but don't & expect them to be ok. So the easier solution is to just shoot the predators. They can sleep outside in predators territory and unprotected but you cant. So you kill what you don't understand