They've been on the Endangered Species list for 42 years. Today, Trump removed the Yellowstone grizzly bear's federal protections under the Endangered Species Act. The reason? A reported population rebound. The U.S. Department of Interior announced their plan to strip the grizzly's protections and return species oversight to the states.
About the decision, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said in a statement, "This achievement stands as one of America's great conservation successes; the culmination of decades of hard work and dedication on the part of state, tribal, federal and private partners. As a Montanan I am proud of what we've achieved together."
Snip from the New York Times:
This action will not affect the other major population of grizzlies in the lower 48 states, those that live in and around Glacier National Park of Montana, which number about 1,000. However, experts say this population too could soon be delisted.
The rule to remove the Yellowstone bear from the endangered list will be published in the federal register sometime in the near future and take effect 30 days after that.
Eliminating threatened species protection under the Endangered Species Act paves the way for Montana, Idaho and Wyoming to take over responsibility for the big bear from federal managers outside the park. That means fewer restrictions on the bear's management — it could be shot by landowners if it's stalking cattle for instance — and will likely include a hunting season for grizzlies. Bears within the boundaries the national park will remain a federal responsibility and will not be hunted, unless they leave Yellowstone.
Delisting the big bruin, or Ursus arctos horribilis, is opposed by a number of conservation groups and Native American tribes who say climate change has cast the Yellowstone region into ecological uncertainty and could lead to problems for the bear in the future.
PHOTO: A grizzly bear in Hayden Valley in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. Credit Jim Urquhart/Reuters