Yellowstone grizzlies have been on the Endangered Species List since 1975, when fewer than 150 bears lived in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The 15 months that have passed since then have been used to by federal officials to evaluate states' grizzly management plans and respond to themes of concern generated by 650,000 comments from the public, including wildlife advocates and Native American tribal officials who are staunchly opposed to hunting grizzly bears. This means that the isolated population of grizzlies living around Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks will no longer be protected by the Endangered Species Act.
The question that has plagued every conversation about Yellowstone grizzlies for well over a year was finally answered today. The delisting applies to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem Distinct Population Segment, which covers portions of northwestern Wyoming, southwestern Montana, and eastern Idaho.
Against the population rebound over the past 42 years, the coalition also set another, grimmer set of numbers about grizzlies: "In the 1800's, approximately 50,000 grizzly bears roamed the lower 48 states".
Furthermore, the center says the ongoing threats that Yellowstone grizzly bears face will be exacerbated by trophy hunting. It also marks the second time in a decade Yellowstone grizzlies have had protections removed.
But the delisting decision is also highly controversial and nearly certain to be challenged in court by conservation organizations that still view the bears as vulnerable to both human and environmental threats.
States with jurisdiction over the bears intend to allow limited hunting outside the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park.
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Should the grizzly bear be delisted-or this just yet another bad environmental move by the Trump administration, divorced from science and decency?
"They found grizzly bears are extremely resilient, extremely flexible and adaptable", Hogan said. "Defenders of Wildlife is going through the delisting rule with a fine-toothed comb, and we will hold federal and state wildlife and land management agencies accountable for strong stewardship and management of grizzly bears and their habitat post delisting".
The New York Times highlighted that many people find hunting of the highly intelligent grizzly bears "disturbing". Activists successfully stymied efforts in 2007 when the Fish and Wildlife Service last tried delisting the animals. One political litmus test is to check what the Obama administration thought of the grizzly bear's fate.
Opponents of the delisting say Yellowstone is an island population of bears, cut off from others of its kind, and it may not have a broad enough spectrum of genetics to adapt to a changing environment in the future.
The process of delisting the grizzly bear began long before President Trump took office: The service made a decision to lift the species' threatened status in 2007, but a federal judge reinstated the protections in response to a lawsuit in 2009. "As a Montanan, I am proud of what we've achieved together".