This U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Decision regarding grizzly bears near Yellowstone is creating a lot of controversy.
It’s been since the 1970s that grizzly bears near Yellowstone Park were officially hunted. In 1975, grizzly numbers in the lower 48 were estimated to be close to 136 total bears. In 2016, they are now estimated to be close to 1,000.
As a result, grizzly bear attacks on humans and livestock are at all time highs. It is for this reason that state pressure is resulting in a move to delist the grizzly as a threatened species.
If this action does go into effect, it won’t be for about a year until final resolutions to the bill can be made. However, if grizzly bears are in fact listed as recovered species, hunting inside Yellowstone will still not be allowed.
Individual states with grizzly populations such as Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, would be responsible for setting their own hunting limits to keep populations in check. Restricted grizzly hunting seasons would stay open as long as the total number of bears remained above an estimated 600 total animals.
The Boone and Crockett Club gave their response to this incredible conservation success story in a press release made public shortly after the above announcement.
“We welcome today’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposal to return the Yellowstone grizzly bear to state management as a recovered species,” said the release. “Restoring the bear to this point is a high achievement of state, federal, and tribal experts working together since the 1980s, and we commend especially the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee for a job well done.”
Animal rights groups and over 40 native American tribes in the region are hoping that President Obama strikes the bill down.
“It’s a sacred animal, our brother, our sister. It would be like going out there and murdering,” said Lee Juan Tyler, vice chairman of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes in Fort Hall, Idaho, in an interview about the situation.
There is still a long way to go before the decision will be handed down. We are all sure this is not the last we’ll hear of it.
What do you think? Is this a good or bad move for the long protected grizzly bear of lower 48 states?