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.


(3) comments

Glenn Graham

1) The Grizzly population in the GYE has been static for 20 years. Not growing.

2) The population is spread further out because its food sources have been hugely reduced.

3) The Endangered Species Act States that the grizzly need to be recovered in each of the areas it barely populates. Not just (arguably) recovered in one of them - GYE. USFWS has done nothing to enable that.

That's the science and the law. What is your reason for wanting the grizzly to be delisted? Hopefully not just something emotion-based and non-scientific.


"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."

Exploded? That "explosion" took 45 years to just increase our population to 700 in over 22 million acres. And it took a lot of hard work along with protections. In the 1980s, biologists still felt grizzlies might go extinct here. Grizzly reproduction is extremely slow, beginning at 5-6 years with their cubs staying with them for 2-3 years. In the first ten years of a female's life, with some luck, she will only replace herself. Grizzlies are still not connected to the NCDE, a vital component that will ensure their continued survival in our ecosystem. That was the crux of the lawsuit. That was what was promised by the USF&W when the bear was listed in 1975. The government just needs to finish what they started and the bears can be delisted with their future in the GYE ensured.


Another load of ignorance and demagoguery being expressed here. The author has no comprehension of genuine wildlife conservation , landscape scale ecology , endangered species recovery , the Endangered Species act proper, the difference between habitat and political subdivisions, history , the naturalist imperative, and a great many other things. Besides not appearing to know that the US Fish and Wildlife agency and Wyoming Game and Fish are not legally married bedfellows. They may sleep topgether on occasion , but don;t make too much of that. Wyoming never really had a strong states' rights claim to managing the grizzly because it failed to acknowledge the bear's habitat extends across several state boundaries and must be considered as all one domain. Wyoming cannot carve out some number of bears and manage as they see fit. It's really not even about numbers... it's the habitat, stupid. Forget about trophy hunting. Wyoming is a long ways from being let off probation for that nonsense.

Until Wyoming learns it has to provide healthy bears to suitable but currently empty grizzly habitat in four other states before it can even think about managing bears inside Wyoming by human bookkepping rules, it will remain in the doghouse and the courtroom . QED.

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