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Tribes ask for permanent protections for grizzly bears

Grizzly bear tribal protection

Photo credit: Dreamstime

This week, Native American leaders united to ask Congress for permanent protections for grizzly bears within the Lower 48. The proposed legislation would block hunting and targets hunts slated for Wyoming and Idaho. According to the Associated Press, grizzly bears “play a central role in the traditions and ceremonies of many tribes” and some Native Americans consider the bears to healers.

“It's like the eagle; we don't shoot them because it's that sacred,” said Benjamin Nuvamsa, a member of the tribe's Hopi Bear Clan. “It has a really, really deep meaning for us, and we have to preserve and respect it.”

However, supporters of delisting the bears say the proposal goes against actual science. It also goes against those who want grizzly hunts in the Northern Rockies in order to decrease the number of grizzly attacks on livestock and, even, people.

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“The science tells us the population is fully recovered,” said California Rep. Tom McClintock. “This bill substitutes emotional, ideological and sentimental biases that are the polar opposite of scientific resource management.”

Rep. Raul Grijalva, chairman of the House of Natural Resources Committee, is sponsoring the legislation to protect grizzly bears permanently. He told the Associated Press that the point of the proposal “was to recognize and honor the bear’s unique place in Native American tradition, by giving them protections beyond what’s offered under the Endangered Species Act.”

"The pressure from Fish and Wildlife is going to continue in this administration, and it's going to continue for delisting," said Grijalva.

As goHUNT previously reported, two Wyoming lawmakers are working to bring grizzly bear legislation out of hibernation. Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) introduced the Grizzly Bear State Management Act, which would reverse the September 2018 decision that removed the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem grizzly bears from the threatened species list. If approved, the Act would allow for the delisting of Yellowstone grizzly bears from the threatened species list and return management to the states.

If protections are removed, management will be transferred to state wildlife agencies.


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SETH D. - posted 5 months ago on 06-03-2019 07:28:31 pm
Sunny New Mexico

Preference points, auction tags and the like have ruined public hunting on public hand for the many and limited it to those with the finances to make that work. The North American model of public hunts for the public is gone. It has not existed in over 20 years, and in many states longer than that.

These attacks by native groups will only grow, they have every reason to fight to take away hunting from the public. I am sure it will happen in California first and then run like wildfire through Oregon, Washington, and New Mexico.

These are the same attacks that native groups in Canada are waging against hunters there.

This is a new battle, but the war won't ever be over.

Jason O. - posted 6 months ago on 05-20-2019 07:56:12 pm

I do agree with Logan, why the change of heart the Native Americans have been harvesting them for years. I tend to believe they would get this passed and then backdoor that they will still be allowed to harvest them. Let's manage them appropriately for anyone to harvest. Time to close that book..

Mark E. - posted 6 months ago on 05-18-2019 03:11:24 pm

Love how the eco warriors love to scream SCIENCE when it comes to supporting their agenda but try to use science to show a grizzly or any other ESA animal, should be delisted and suddenly, science is garbage.

Jeff B. - posted 6 months ago on 05-17-2019 07:01:30 pm

I agree with justin z. These animals must be managed, as they have no natural predator, and pretending that humans and their economic and safety concerns don't factor in is unrealistic and foolhardy. The ESA has done its job here; time to move to management.

matthew a. - posted 6 months ago on 05-17-2019 05:22:21 pm
Tampa, FL

So what is beyond protection of the ESA? Is this another bill similiar to the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971. What a disaster that was/is

Gary H. - posted 6 months ago on 05-17-2019 05:43:33 am

Sounds to me that someone is offering them money behind the scenes to change their stance on bears. Oh the politics of life.

arron w. - posted 6 months ago on 05-16-2019 06:08:32 pm

They will still hunt them. Just want it so no one else can. Just like wolves in Washington state.

Richard B. - posted 6 months ago on 05-16-2019 02:37:06 pm

I am confused. My understanding was that the September 2018 decision did not remove Grizzlies from the threatened species list and a federal judge had restored protections for grizzly bears. How would the Grizzly Bear State Management Act "reverse" the September 2018 decision?

Logan S. - posted 6 months ago on 05-16-2019 11:13:28 am

Native Americans have hunted and killed grizzly bears for thousands of years for meat, jewelry and pelts. I can't understand why they have suddenly developed an aversion to hunting grizzlies. Yes, they have legends and respect for the bear but that didn't stop them from killing them in times past. This seems like more of a political power play than religious argument.

Justin Z. - posted 6 months ago on 05-16-2019 10:01:02 am

State agencies can follow sounds wildlife management practices backed by science driven decisions while allowing for an abundant grizzly population. It shouldn't be an "all or nothing" view as they are proposing here. This is a hurtful and destructive argument driven by emotion. The North American model of wildlife management is the most successful the world has ever seen, and we need to promote the de-listing with limited harvest quotas based on the wildlife biologists' tag recommendations. Arguments against this are politically and or emotionally driven and have no merit in public policy.