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For Immediate Release

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Tel: (520) 623.5252
Email: center@biologicaldiversity.org

Press Release

Appeal Challenges Federal Plan Authorizing Killing of 72 Grizzlies Near Yellowstone

PINEDALE, Wyo. -

The Center for Biological Diversity and Sierra Club filed an appeal today challenging a federal plan authorizing the killing of up to 72 grizzly bears to accommodate livestock grazing in Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest, near Yellowstone National Park.

Today’s filing appeals a May ruling by the U.S. District Court of Wyoming, which backed the Trump administration-approved plan allowing the bears to be killed.

“We’re determined to stop this terrible plan, which could be a death sentence for dozens of Yellowstone grizzly bears,” said Andrea Zaccardi, carnivore conservation legal director at the Center. “The federal government shouldn’t be killing native species so the livestock industry can graze cattle on public lands for next to nothing. We believe the court’s decision was flawed, and we’ll continue to fight for the lives of these magnificent bears.”

The court’s opinion contained several legal flaws. For example, the court erred when it determined that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s analysis discussing the project’s impacts to bears was legally sufficient, even after acknowledging that the agency’s analysis lacked a discussion of how many females could be killed under the project.

The plaintiffs argued that the mitigation measures contained within the biological opinion were insufficient to protect grizzly bears because they were vague, unenforceable, and uncertain to occur. The court held that the project would not jeopardize the grizzly bear population even if the mitigation measures do not occur, even though the agency never made such an assertion and explicitly relied on the measures when making its no-jeopardy determination.

“The intentional killing of dozens of grizzly bears is a slap in the face to decades of recovery efforts in the Greater Yellowstone region,” said Bonnie Rice, senior representative for the Sierra Club in the Greater Yellowstone region. “We cannot allow these bears to be killed when a wide range of effective, non-lethal measures are available to livestock producers. The priority should be requiring and enforcing conflict prevention measures and promoting coexistence and safety for bears and people.”

The parties and court will next set a briefing schedule in the hopes of receiving an appellate decision before the grazing season begins next spring.

 

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At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive. 

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