Suing Over Yellowstone’s Grizzly Bears
Sec. Zinke’s announcement that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will remove Endangered Species Act protections for Yellowstone’s grizzly bears.
Today, grizzlies remain absent from 98 percent of their historic range in the contiguous states. Their numbers dropped from well over 50,000 historically to less than 1,800 today. Only a few, small remnant populations remain, including an isolated population of approximately 700 in the Yellowstone region.
Biologists agree that grizzly recovery hinges on connecting isolated populations and distributing the genes they carry. To date, however, efforts to connect Yellowstone’s grizzlies with other populations, including those in the Northern Rockies, have failed. Given the level of uncertainty about the causes of increased grizzly bear distribution, the need for more dispersal and connectivity, the documented loss of major food sources, and the lag effect that exists between documenting a loss of food sources and the time that loss manifests itself at the population level, now is not the time to remove protections and declare open season on grizzlies leaving Yellowstone.
Please get in touch with Matthew Bishop if you have any questions. Read Matthew’s op-ed on grizzlies here. We plan on suing the Fish and Wildlife Service over this decision, representing WildEarth Guardians, as soon as the new rule hits the federal register.
Western Environmental Law Center
208 Paseo del Pueblo Sur, #602
Taos, NM 87571