Press Release Apr 26, 2018

Park Advocates Fire Back on Wyoming’s Grizzly Hunting Plan

More than 160 former National Park Service employees and over 22,000 Park Advocates call on Wyoming Governor Matt Mead to reject hunting proposal that threatens Grand Teton and Yellowstone grizzlies.

Jackson, WY – National park advocates and former National Park Service employees have combined forces to reject Wyoming’s proposal to hunt up to 24 grizzly bears this fall, just outside the borders of Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks.

More than 22,000 people have signed on thus far to a petition led by National Parks Conservation Association, opposing the hunt due to concerns over the impact it could have on bears that call Yellowstone and Grand Teton home. And 165 former National Park Service employees have signed onto a letter against Wyoming’s proposal, through an action led by the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks. The organizations’ actions are both directed to Governor Matt Mead, urging him to halt or modify the Wyoming Fish and Game Department’s proposal, which would allow grizzly hunting this fall, for the first time since 1975.

“Our membership has voiced its strong concerns that Wyoming’s proposed grizzly bear hunt is premature and will only exacerbate the levels of human-caused mortality already occurring prior to the removal of the grizzly bears from Endangered Species Act protections,” said Phil Francis, Chair of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks. “We are calling on Governor Mead to halt the ill-advised hunt until all issues, including appeals in the courts, pertaining to the disputed delisting are resolved.” With over 1,500 members, the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks collectively represents more than 35,000 years of national park management experience.

“This National Park Week, we are joined by former Park Service career employees and over 22,000 individuals in affirming our commitment to protecting national park grizzly bears by rejecting the hunting proposal,” said Stephanie Adams, Yellowstone Program Manager for National Parks Conservation Association. “National Parks Conservation Association opposes this aggressive hunting proposal, which would allow hunting up to national park borders, targets up to 14 slow-reproducing females and includes the unethical practice of baiting. We can and must do better for these icons of America and our national parks.”

Wyoming has called for hunting up to 24 grizzlies this fall, including some bear baiting. Hunting would threaten grizzly bears including those that travel outside of the borders of Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. For the first time since 1975, grizzlies that spend most of the year in these national parks could be the first ones shot. The hunting proposal comes in response to the removal of federal protections for Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem grizzlies. The removal was finalized in July of 2017 and prompted lawsuits by National Parks Conservation Association and tribal partners and conservation organizations, for the final rule’s failure to ensure the bears’ long-term health.

Visitors to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks – many of whom travel to the national parks to see wildlife including grizzly bears - generated more than $1 billion ($1,089,000,000) in economic spending in 2017 and supported 16,040 jobs, based on a new economic report released this week by the Department of Interior.

The hunting proposal is open for public comment through April 30 and the Game and Fish Department will vote on May 23. Take action at www.npca.org/grizzlies.

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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 1.3 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.