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Published September 21, 2009, 01:21 PM

Fed judge, saying grizzlies still threatened, orders Yellowstone area restoration of protections

A federal judge in Montana says the government must restore protections for an estimated 600 grizzly bears in and around Yellowstone National Park, citing a decline in their food supply caused in part by climate change.

By: Matthew Brown, Associated Press

BILLINGS, Mont. - A federal judge in Montana says the government must restore protections for an estimated 600 grizzly bears in and around Yellowstone National Park, citing a decline in their food supply caused in part by climate change.

Grizzlies lost their status as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act in spring 2007.

Today, U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy in Missoula sided with environmental groups who argued in a lawsuit that the bear population remained at risk even after bouncing back from near-extermination last century.

Molloy cited a decline in whitebark pine trees — a key food source for many bears that has been disrupted by climate change — forest fires and other factors.

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