Press Release Nov 16, 2016

Plan that Fails to Protect Yellowstone Grizzlies Advances

Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem grizzly bears are one step closer to losing Endangered Species Act protection, through a disappointing vote by state and federal decision-makers

CODY, Wyo. – The Yellowstone Ecosystem Subcommittee of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee voted by majority at its November 16 meeting to approve the Conservation Strategy for grizzly bear management, post delisting. Yellowstone National Park was the lone dissenting vote.

The vote was made despite multiple concerns raised by the National Park Service, the National Parks Conservation Association, thousands of individual citizens and local and national conservation organizations. As currently written, the plan:

  • Could put grizzly bears at risk of being hunting within National Park Service-managed lands, including the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Parkway; on privately owned land or inholdings within Grand Teton; and adjacent to lands managed by the National Park Service;
  • Fails to ensure the Yellowstone grizzly population is able to increase in both size and geographic scope;
  • Does not foster population connectivity between Yellowstone and Crown of the Continent/Glacier ecosystem grizzly bears. Without connectivity measures, Yellowstone grizzlies remain in what is essentially an island of protected lands, without the genetic diversity needed for populations to thrive;
  • Does not provide the National Park Service a formal seat role to work with state agencies to manage park bears that move beyond park borders; and
  • Fails to properly consider how climate change will impact Yellowstone grizzly bears in the long-term.

Below is a statement by Stephanie Adams, Yellowstone Program Manager for National Parks Conservation Association, who attended today’s meeting.

“The subcommittee vote confirms that the Fish and Wildlife Service is racing to remove protections for Yellowstone and Grand Teton grizzly bears, despite numerous unaddressed concerns. The plan approved today fails on multiple levels to protect Yellowstone grizzly bears and ignores multiple and valid concerns raised by Yellowstone leadership and Park Service officials. If approved, grizzly bears at park boundaries as well as privately owned lands within Grand Teton will be placed under threat of hunting.

“Advancing this proposal is a disservice to grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone region, the efforts of countless people over decades of work and millions of taxpayer dollars that have been dedicated to grizzly recovery and conservation.

“NPCA urges Fish and Wildlife Service and key decision-makers to immediately end the delisting process.”

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About National Parks Conservation Association

Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than one million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historic, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.