ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

U.S. proposes lifting protections for Yellowstone-area grizzlies

CODY, Wyo. - The Fish and Wildlife Service proposed on Thursday stripping Endangered Species Act protections from the grizzly bear in and around Yellowstone National Park, saying the animal's numbers have rebounded sufficiently in recent decades.

2368776+2016-03-03T223700Z_1148039304_TM3EC331CBT01_RTRMADP_3_USA-GRIZZLY-YELLOWSTONE (1).JPG
A grizzly bear roams through the Hayden Valley in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming in this May 18, 2014 file photo. REUTERS

CODY, Wyo. - The Fish and Wildlife Service proposed on Thursday stripping Endangered Species Act protections from the grizzly bear in and around Yellowstone National Park, saying the animal's numbers have rebounded sufficiently in recent decades.

  The number of grizzlies in the greater Yellowstone region, encompassing parts of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, has grown to an estimated 700 or more bears today, up from as few as 136 in 1975 when they were formally listed as a threatened species throughout the Lower 48 states.

At that time, the grizzly had been hunted, trapped and poisoned to near extinction. Its current estimated population well exceeds the government's recovery goal of 500 animals in the region.

Sportsmen and ranchers, who make up a powerful political constituency in Western states, have strongly advocated de-listing grizzlies, arguing that their increasing numbers pose a threat to humans, livestock and big-game animals such as elk.

Environmentalists have raised concerns that while grizzlies have made a comeback, their recovery could falter if federal safeguards are lifted, a move that would open the animals to public hunting outside the national park boundaries.

ADVERTISEMENT

Native American tribes, which revere the bear, also have voiced skepticism about removing the grizzly's threatened status.

But Fish and Wildlife Service, a U.S. Interior Department agency, said population and habitat monitoring has found that grizzly bears have more than doubled their range since the mid-1970s, occupying more than 22,500 square miles of the Yellowstoneecosystem. That area is larger than the land mass of New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, combined, the agency said.

What To Read Next
Members Only
“In our industry there aren’t a lot of young people in it. I like the fact that there are a lot of young people in agriculture here,” he said of the Mitchell area.
Minnesota Farmers Union, Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and Minnesota Corn Growers Association were pleased with items in Gov. Tim Walz's "One Minnesota Budget" proposal.
John Deere and the American Farm Bureau Federation recently announced they had come to an agreement that will lead to more accessible repairs to John Deere equipment.
Sponsors include Farmers Union Enterprises, Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute.