It is not surprising the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals headquartered in San Francisco this month upheld the ruling that reinstated Endangered Species Act protection for the Yellowstone grizzly bear population.
Not surprising, but the wrong decision nonetheless.
Reaffirming the Montana District Court’s opinion that the decision to delist the grizzly was not made purely on a scientific basis, the Circuit Court of Appeals also overlooked some scientific evidence themselves.
One major item both courts neglected to notice was the grizzly bear population has exploded from an estimated 136 bears in 1975 to more than 700 by today’s estimate. That is a five-fold increase.
In addition, the grizzly bears’ range has more than doubled since the mid-1970s and now occupies more than 22,500 square miles.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed the grizzly from the federal endangered and threatened species protection based on, among other reasons, “Stable population numbers for grizzly bears for more than a decade also indicate that the GYE is at or near its carrying capacity for the bears.”
Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) pointed out the obvious. “The court is flat wrong. The grizzly bear is fully recovered in Wyoming. That’s a fact.”
We anticipate Wyoming, Idaho, Montana and others who opposed the decision by both courts may appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. We hope they do.
Almost everyone in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem appreciates the intrinsic value of residing in the presence of grizzlies.
But enough is enough.
It’s time to let the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the states surrounding Yellowstone have control of the grizzly.