A recent affirmation of a court ruling means good news for grizzlies at Yellowstone.
Yellowstone’s grizzlies were first declared as “threatened with extinction” in 1975. As a species in jeopardy, they were protected under the Endangered Species Act. A few years ago, however, these protections were threatened.
2017 saw the removal of the grizzly bears at Yellowstone from the federal list of species who are endangered or threatened. This removal, enacted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, was accompanied by the states of Idaho and Wyoming making a concerning proclamation.
Idaho and Wyoming said that as many as 23 bears would be able to be hunted and killed around Yellowstone. This was the first announcement of its kind in upwards of 40 years.
The opposition to this decision was strong. Listening to the objections of conservation organisations and the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, a federal court in Montana made a 2018 ruling: the hunts would not go forward.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service fought this, appealing the decision. The appeal process was just completed on July 8, 2020, and the news is good for grizzlies.
The courts affirmed the 2018 ruling that the removal of the bears from the list of protected species was illegal. The bears are staying protected.
The Center for Biological Diversity released a statement about the recent court victory:
The courts have repeatedly slammed the Fish and Wildlife Service for prematurely removing federal protections for grizzly bears. I hope the agency will now concentrate on fully recovering these magnificent animals, not stripping them of needed safeguards.Andrea Zaccardi, a senior attorney at the Center
Grizzlies, those who appreciate them, and those working to conserve their populations all have reasons to rejoice:
This is a tremendous victory for all who cherish Yellowstone’s grizzly bears and for those who have worked to ensure that they are protected under the Endangered Species Act. Grizzlies still have a long way to go before recovery. Hunting these beautiful animals around America’s most treasured national park should never again be an option.Andrea Zaccardi
Article source: Center for Biological Diversity
Featured image source: Terry Tollefsbol/NPS