Grizzlies Listed As Threatened Species Again

Yellowstone News, Bear Hunting Magazine

Yellowstone Grizzly bears are returning to the threatened species list, according to a federal court order on Monday, September 21, 2009.

The grizzly bear was said to have rebounded in March 2007, but officials state that many are again threatened by changes in their habitat, primarily in how climate change has rid the region of whitebark pines, which they state that the bears rely on.

Judge Donald Molloy issued a 46-page decision to restore protections for the grizzly bear, which resides primarily in and around the Yellowstone National Park region of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho.

"There is a connection between whitebark pine and grizzly survival," wrote Judge Molloy. The whitebark pine has suffered from forest fires and pine beetles.

Grizzly hunting was illegal under their protective status time frame, but at least 20 bears were killed either in self-defense or by mistake.

Molloy stated that a 2007 report from the US Fish and Wildlife Service did not emphasize the whitebark pine as an important factor in the bears survival. Additionally, he noted that state and federal conservation plans were not doing enough to protect the grizzly bear.

Unites States Rep. Cynthia Lummis said the ruling was an abuse of the Endangered Species Act. "Subverting the Endangered Species Act through judicial activism under the auspice of climate change would be laughable if the impacts weren't so dire for Wyoming's public land users," she said.

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