Judge upends planned grizzly seasons in Idaho, Wyoming (VIDEO)
By Chris Eger
A federal judge this week reversed a rule change that allowed states around Yellowstone to manage the resurgent grizzly population (Photo: Wyoming Game and Fish Department)
Despite mounting human interaction with a growing bear population, a federal judge sided with animal rights groups to reinstate protections for the grizzlies.
U.S. Judge Dana Christensen on Monday vacated a 2017 rule by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to delist the Greater Yellowstone grizzly herd from its status on the threatened species list. In doing so, he removed the ability of state conservation agencies in the region to manage the animal, thus taking the planned fall hunting seasons for grizzlies off the table.
“Although this Order may have impacts throughout grizzly country and beyond, this case is not about the ethics of hunting, and it is not about solving human- or livestock-grizzly conflicts as a practical or philosophical matter,” said Christensen in his 48-page order, which stressed the USF&WS may have exceeded its legal authority when it delisted the bear.
After bottoming out with a census of just 136 animals in the 1970s, the number grizzlies in and around Yellowstone swelled over the decades of Endangered Species Act protection. Now grown to over 600 animals, federal