US officials to lift Yellowstone grizzly bear protections

US officials to lift Yellowstone grizzly bear protections

US officials to lift Yellowstone grizzly bear protections

"As a Montanan, I'm proud of what we've achieved together", Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said in a statement.

RMEF said the Yellowstone grizzly population rebounded from as few as 136 bears in 1975 to an estimated 700 animals today.

Control of the species will be turned over to the state and local tribes.

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

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem from the Endangered Species List yesterday (June 22). The move will cede more management responsibility to the states of Idaho, Wyoming and Montana, and will open the possibility of organized hunting seasons.

In addition, the grizzly bear ecosystem, which typically covers Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming, has expanded by 50 percent.

But the delisting decision is also highly controversial and nearly certain to be challenged in court by conservation organizations that still view the bears as vulnerable to both human and environmental threats. "Until natural connectivity with the northern grizzly population occurs, scientific studies make clear that a minimum population of closer to 2,000 bears would be needed to maintain long-term genetic diversity".

Environmentalists say that while grizzlies have made a comeback, their recovery could falter without federal safeguards. But wildlife conservationists argue that lifting protections that have been in place for more than 40 years will leave the bears vulnerable to mass slaughter.

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With their numbers solid, grizzlies will be stripped of Endangered Species Act safeguards this summer, in a move conservation groups vowed to challenge in court. It is an egregious affront to Tribal Nations that consider grizzly bears sacred, and it's bad news for the Yellowstone region's outdoor economy.

We recognize and appreciate the enormous amount of time, energy, and resources that FWS and many other agencies, organizations, and individuals have devoted to grizzly bear recovery over the several last decades. "I thank all involved in the delisting effort". "We will closely examine this decision, and are prepared to defend the grizzly if necessary".

Scientists also studied the effects of climate change on grizzly bears and their food sources, such as the nuts of whitebark pine trees, which are in decline.

Some environmental groups expressed their concerns over the decision.

Republicans applauded the Trump administration's decision, saying the bear has long warranted an end to protections. The Service's decision today flouts the letter and intent of the Endangered Species Act, ignores the best available science, and undermines the recovery of this cherished species as a whole.

Furthermore, the center says the ongoing threats that Yellowstone grizzly bears face will be exacerbated by trophy hunting.

But proponents of relaxing protections say the big bears are adaptable, once thriving from Alaska to Mexico and as far east as Minnesota.

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