Grizzlies in the region will stay on the endangered species list for now.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday upheld the Montana District Court’s opinion that reinstated Endangered Species Act protections for the Yellowstone region’s grizzly bear population. That keeps the species on the list for now, although Wyoming, Idaho, Montana and others opposed to the decision are likely to appeal the decision.
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.
That fall, for the first time in more than 40 years, Wyoming and Idaho announced grizzly hunts outside of Yellowstone National Park. The Northern Cheyenne Tribe and conservation groups filed a lawsuit and a district court judge in Montana ruled on behalf of the tribe and conservation groups reinstating federal protections.
“The court is flat wrong,” said Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.). “The grizzly bear is fully recovered in Wyoming. That’s a fact. The last three presidential administrations - both Republican and Democrat - have determined the grizzly is recovered. It’s well past time for the grizzly bear in Wyoming to come off of the Endangered Species List. Wyoming - not an activist court - should determine how the bear is managed. The state has a strong, science-based management plan and it should be given a chance to succeed. ”
Groups who had filed the lawsuit to reverse the delisting also weighed in.
“This is a tremendous victory for all who cherish Yellowstone’s grizzly bears and for those who’ve worked to ensure they’re protected under the Endangered Species Act,” said Andrea Zaccardi, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Grizzlies still have a long way to go before recovery. Hunting these beautiful animals around America’s most treasured national park should never again be an option.”