Judge's ruling overturns Trump administration decision to remove endangered species protections from grizzly bears in the Yellowstone and Grand Teton region.

In September 2018, a federal judge ruled that a 2017 decision by the Trump administration to strip Endangered Species Act protections from grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem was illegal.

This ruling halts planned hunts in Wyoming and Idaho that had been slated to take place in autumn 2018, resulting in a major victory for bears and the larger park ecosystem they live in. Nearly 40,000 NPCA supporters spoke out against the Wyoming grizzly hunt.

NPCA strongly opposed the delisting and the state-approved plan to allow Wyoming hunters to kill up to 23 grizzly bears. The hunt would have been the first of its kind in 40 years and would have threatened the long-term health of the bear population. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision to remove the Yellowstone-area grizzly bears from the Endangered Species List was a flawed decision that failed to consider the best available science and could set grizzly bear recovery back by decades.

NPCA is part of a coalition of tribal and conservation groups suing the Fish and Wildlife Service to overturn the bears’ removal from the Endangered Species List.

Background

The 18-million-acre Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is one of the few suitable habitats left in the country that is large enough to support grizzly bears. These animals teetered on the brink of extinction in the 1970s, and the Yellowstone population has grown to more than 600 today — an achievement worthy of celebration.

However, the survival of grizzly bears did not happen by accident. The Endangered Species Act set strict protections, and dedicated wildlife experts and public support made their recovery possible. It took decades of hard work and millions of taxpayer dollars to save these animals from being lost forever, and we must ensure they continue to thrive.

NPCA is extremely concerned that the Fish and Wildlife Service has failed to provide a responsible plan for the bears’ continued recovery. Concerns include:

  • The plan fails to provide long-term and enforceable regulations to ensure the grizzly population remains stable and is able to increase in both size and geographic scope.
  • It is opening the way to hunting grizzly bears on private and state-owned land inside and adjacent to the area’s national park sites, further jeopardizing the long-term health of the grizzly population.
  • It does not include measures that would encourage connectivity with grizzly bears that live in the Crown of the Continent/Glacier ecosystem, depriving both populations of the genetic diversity they need to thrive.
  • It fails to provide the National Park Service with a formal seat at the table to work with state agencies to manage bears that move beyond park borders.
  • It fails to properly consider how climate change will impact the grizzly bears long-term.

The stakes are too high to rush the process and remove important protections for these iconic bears. NPCA believes the prudent action is to put an immediate halt to the plans for a Wyoming bear hunt, withdraw the delisting and work with other key stakeholders to redo the delisting decision. However, the Department of Interior refuses to do so.

NPCA will continue to fight to stop the Wyoming bear hunt and pressure the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service to redo the delisting decision and include enforceable regulations to ensure the grizzly bears of Grand Teton, Yellowstone and the surrounding area are able to continue to rebound.

Effort-to-date

  • More than 17,700 Comments Submitted to USFWS

    May 2016

    NPCA supporters submitted comments expressing concern on the proposal to remove Greater Yellowstone grizzlies from the Endangered Species List.

  • More than 8,000 Took Action for Grizzlies

    Jan 2018

    Thousands of national park advocates submitted comments to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service asking the agency to withdraw its decision to delist the grizzly bears of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.

  • Nearly 40,000 actions taken to protect Greater Yellowstone Grizzlies

    Sep 2018

    Park advocates nationwide wrote Wyoming Governor Matt Mead and told him to let Greater Yellowstone grizzly bears recover and to not allow a planned trophy hunt in his state.

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