For Immediate Release
Yellowstone Grizzlies: Court Reinstates Protections, Blocks ID, WY Trophy Hunts
Endangered Species Act safeguards restored to still-recovering bears
MISSOULA, Mont. - Today, a U.S. District Court judge ruled against the Trump administration, reversing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's 2017 decision to strip grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem of vital Endangered Species Act protections. The court ruled that the delisting was premature, did not rely on the best available science, and improperly failed to analyze the impact killing grizzlies just outside the safety of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks would have on other imperiled populations in the lower 48 states.
“The importance of today’s ruling cannot be overstated: the very bears essential to achieve connectivity between still-struggling isolated grizzly populations would have died at the hands of trophy hunters. Now, not only do the Yellowstone region’s bears have a fighting chance, so too do grizzlies across the lower 48,” said Bethany Cotton, wildlife program director for WildEarth Guardians. “We are gratified the court saw the numerous flaws in the Service’s decision, and stepped in to stop a cascade of events that would have put this already struggling icon of the West closer to extinction.”
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Grizzlies in the Yellowstone region remain threatened by dwindling food sources, climate change, small population size, isolation, habitat loss and fragmentation, and high levels of human-caused mortality. The Yellowstone population is isolated and has yet to connect to bears elsewhere in the U.S., including to bears in and around Glacier National Park. Grizzlies also have yet to reclaim key historic habitats, including the Bitterroot Range along the Montana-Idaho border.
A copy of the ruling is available here.
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