For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 
Contact: 

Maggie Caldwell, mcaldwell@earthjustice.org

9th Circuit Upholds Endangered Species Protections for Yellowstone Grizzlies

SAN FRANCISCO - The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals today upheld the Montana District Court’s opinion that reinstated Endangered Species Act protections for the Yellowstone region’s grizzly bear population. The decision spares the grizzlies from plans for trophy hunts in the states of Wyoming and Idaho. 

Earthjustice, representing the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity and National Parks Conservation Association, argued for restoring protections to Yellowstone grizzly bears.

The following is a statement from Tim Preso, Earthjustice attorney: 

“This is a tremendous victory for those who care about Yellowstone and its grizzly bears. The court rightfully rejected the misguided proposal to subject Yellowstone grizzlies to trophy hunting for the first time in 40 years. The grizzly is an icon of our remaining wildness at a time when our wilderness is shrinking and our wildlife is under assault.”  

BACKGROUND

In August 2017, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed the Yellowstone-region grizzly bear population from the federal endangered and threatened species list, even though the area’s grizzly population has suffered high levels of human-caused deaths in recent years.

That fall, for the first time in more than 40 years, the states of Wyoming and Idaho announced grizzly hunts that would have allowed for up to 23 bears to be killed outside of Yellowstone National Park. The Northern Cheyenne Tribe and conservation groups challenged the Fish and Wildlife Service’s disregard of bear deaths following the bears’ recent shift to a more heavily meat-based diet following the loss of other foods. They filed a lawsuit and temporary restraining order to the block the hunt which a district judge granted. Later the judge ruled on behalf of the tribe and conservation groups reinstating federal protections. Today, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed this decision. 

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Earthjustice is a non-profit public interest law firm dedicated to protecting the magnificent places, natural resources, and wildlife of this earth, and to defending the right of all people to a healthy environment. We bring about far-reaching change by enforcing and strengthening environmental laws on behalf of hundreds of organizations, coalitions and communities.

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