Yellowstone Grizzlies Might Come Off Endangered Species List

Yellowstone Grizzlies Might Come Off Endangered Species List

yellowstonepark.com

After years of rising populations among Yellowstone National Park’s famous grizzly bears, officials are meeting this week to discuss removing grizzly bears from protections given by the Endangered Species list, according to csmonitor.com.

The Yellowstone Ecosystem Subcommittee approved a grizzly bear conservation strategy at its meeting in Cody, Wyoming on April 13 and 14, the last step before the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service publishes a delisting rule, according to billingsgazette.com.

If bears are removed from the endangered species list, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana would assume management, including possible hunting seasons, according to billingsgazette.com.

Grizzly bears were first put on the Endangered Species List in 1975, with approximately 136 grizzly bears bears in Yellowstone. Today, officials estimate there to be more than 700 bears in Yellowstone, according to csmonitor.com.

“This was a major effort to finally get agreement on this thing,” said Brian Nesvik, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s wildlife chief. “I think it’s a good time to celebrate how much Wyoming people have done to recover this population. It’s one of the biggest conservation success stories ever.”

Controversy still continues as to whether the bears are being taken off the Endangered Species List too early.

Roger Hayden, the managing director for Wyoming Wildlife Advocates in Jackson Hole, called Thursday’s announcement “a couple years too early.” He says bears are roaming the periphery more frequently now, searching for meat to supplement their diet because white bark pine and cutthroat trout have declined due to climate change and other shifts in the ecosystem, according to csmonitor.com

“The question we keep raising is, ‘What is the rush to delist and why can’t we wait to delist them for a couple years?'” Mr. Hayden stated.