Making official what was ordered by a federal court last September, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Tuesday restored the Yellowstone grizzly bear to Endangered Species Act protection.
Although people reacted strongly to this action now, the federal agency and Wyoming Game and Fish officials have been operating under that guideline for nearly 10 months already.
“It is extremely disappointing that grizzly bears in the Yellowstone region will be added back to the endangered species list due to a frivolous lawsuit and a flawed court decision,” said U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi.
Responding to a lawsuit filed by a group of conservation groups, Missoula Judge Dana Christensen halted delisting and returned supervision of the area grizzly to Fish and Wildlife, saying the agency had not used the best available science to make its delisting decision.
Grizzly management had been returned to the states of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho in 2017.
Still, Wyoming’s congressional delegation took the opportunity to criticize the court and Fish and Wildlife.
This roadblock surfaced after decades of nurturing the Yellowstone grizzly population to more than 700 after it declined to 136 in the 1970s and multi-governmental-agency agreement the species was recovered.
Wyoming’s U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney said Tuesday’s action was the “result of excessive litigation pursued by radical environmentalists intent on destroying our Western way of life.”
Cheney has pursued delisting the Yellowstone grizzly through Congressional action, but there has been no movement on that front.
Sen. John Barasso said, “The grizzly is fully recovered in Wyoming. End of story. The last three administrations made the determination that the grizzly bear has recovered.”