Grizzly Bears are Back under Federal Management

Yesterday, a federal judge ruled against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife and overturned the action that removed the grizzly from the endangered species list in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE).

Governor Matt Mead said he’s disappointed with the decision.

“Biologists correctly determined grizzly bears no longer needed ESA protections,” he noted. “The decision to return grizzly bears to the list of threatened and endangered species is further evidence that the ESA is not working as its drafters intended. Congress should modernize the ESA so we can celebrate successes and focus our efforts on species in need.”

When first listed in 1975, there were approximately 136 grizzly bears in the GYE. Today, they number more than 700.

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“Game and Fish is a strong proponent of all wildlife management being led by people who live in this state and having management decisions made at the local level,” said Scott Talbott, director of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. “We will do our part to ensure the shift back to federal management will be seamless, just as we did in 2009 when grizzly bears were returned to the endangered species list after having been under state management for just over a year.”

Sen. Mike Enzi also released a statement regarding this matter.

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“It is disappointing that the state of Wyoming and U.S. Fish and Wildlife services have once again seen their well-researched attempts to delist a recovered species struck down by a federal judge. As the grizzly bear population has increased in Wyoming, so has the danger to livestock, property and humans,” said Enzi. “That is why it was so important that management of the species had been turned over to the state. I hope that a quick resolution to keep the Yellowstone grizzly bears delisted can be implemented.”

The first grizzly bear hunting season in Wyoming in more than 40 years was set to begin Sept. 1, when a federal judge in Montana issued an order suspending the hunt at the last minute.

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