Comments to the US Fish and Wildlife Service Opposing Delisting of the Greater Yellowstone Grizzly
Wyoming Untrapped submitted comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in opposition to removing Endangered Species Act protections for grizzly bears of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is unprepared to take over management of these iconic animals and is recommending a hunting season on the bears as soon as fall of 2017. The threats bears face outside of the parks are already causing a significant amount of mortality, even though they are currently a protected species. Climate change, declining whitebark pine, and increased conflict with humans continue to pose significant threats to grizzlies in and around Yellowstone. These threats are not going to subside in the near future, causing continued mortality of grizzlies. With only 700-1,000 bears in the entire ecosystem, there is not a current need for a hunting season on bears, yet the Wyoming Game and Fish Department has made it abundantly clear that a trophy season on grizzlies will be part of the future management plan for grizzlies in Wyoming. The management plan also does not address trapping and whether or not trapping will be restricted in the grizzly bear recovery zones. With one of the slowest reproductive rates of any animal in North America, and high levels of mortality already occurring in Wyoming, grizzly bears are still very much at risk of becoming further endangered in the future.
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Photo courtesy of Thomas Mangelsen.