Judge extends order blocking planned grizzly hunt
By Chris Eger
Grizzly bear in a field at Yellowstone National Park (Photo: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service)
A federal judge in Montana this week added more ice to a freeze on the opening of the grizzly bear season in two states.
U.S. Judge Dana Christensen issued a second 14-day injunction from his Missoula courtroom Thursday as part of a lawsuit brought by animal rights activists and Native American tribes. The legal action is halting the first grizzly hunts in Wyoming in 44 years and the first in Idaho in 22. Christensen, a 2013 appointment to the federal bench by President Obama, agreed with the groups’ argument that the 23 tags in the hands of local hunters may lead to lasting harm.
“If the Court does not extend the temporary restraining order, as many as 23 bears may be killed in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem,” Christensen said. “Their death would cause irreparable injury to the Plaintiffs.”
The case, supported by almost 30 groups to include the Humane Society, Center for Biological Diversity, National Parks Conservation Association, Northern Cheyenne Tribe, and Sierra Club, took issue with the decision by federal wildlife officials to allow the population of grizzly bears in the Yellowstone area to be managed by local