Tag: grizzly bears

Grizzly delisting to be challenged in court

The federal government is once again allowing politics to trump science it its decision to take grizzly bears off the endangered species list. Photo courtesy USFWS.

Species far from recovered, wildlife advocates say

Staff Report

Once again, the U.S. court system will have the final say over an endangered species decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Conservation groups say they are preparing to sue the agency over its recent decision to take Montana’s grizzly bears off the endangered species list.

Wildlife advocates say the the decision violated the Endangered Species Act because grizzlies have not been recovered across a substantial portion of their historic range, and still face threats from habitat loss, poaching and a dwindling supply of food. The proposal would hand management of the species over to individual states. Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho all plan to permit grizzly trophy hunting. Continue reading “Grizzly delisting to be challenged in court”

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Can grizzlies survive global warming?

New study shows many bears still rely on dwindling whitebark pine seeds

An adult grizzly bear in the brush. Photo courtesy USFWS.

Staff Report

The long-term survival of grizzles in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem may depend on whether they’re willing to switch from eating whitebark pine seeds to other types food.

Some of the bears have already started responding to reductions in whitebark trees by consuming more plants and berries, while others are still focused on finding stashes of the nutritious pine nuts, scientists said in a new study based on analyzing the chemical composition of what the grizzlies eat. Continue reading “Can grizzlies survive global warming?”

Feds eye grizzly reintroduction in North Cascades

Draft plan posted for public comment

A grizzly boar on the Brooks River in Alaska. Photo by Kim Fenske.
A grizzly boar on the Brooks River in Alaska. Photo by Kim Fenske.
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Re-establishing a self-sustaining population of grizzlies in the North Cascades ecosystem could help reach overall recovery goals for the predators, which have been on the endangered species list since 1975.

Staff Report

Federal biologists say they can boost the population of grizzly bears in the North Cascades ecosystem by relocating the predators from other areas. The National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week released a draft plan (open for public comment), for increasing the total number of bears in the region to 200. Bt current estimates, only about 10 remain, too small a population to sustain itself. According to the draft plan, grizzly bears could be relocated from either northwestern Montana or south-central British Columbia.

“We’re happy to see the agencies taking a step in the right direction to restore grizzly bears to the North Cascades,” said Andrea Santarsiere, a senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Without a helping hand, grizzly bears are likely to disappear from the Pacific Northwest.” Continue reading “Feds eye grizzly reintroduction in North Cascades”

Wildlife: Wyoming grizzly hunting plan challenged in court

Grizzly bear attacks are rare, and hikers are encouraged to carry pepper spray to deter attacks. PHOTO COURTESY U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE.
Grizzlies are under the gun in Wyoming. Photo via USFWS.

Activists say public was short-changed on comment period

Staff Report

Wildlife advocates are going to court to challenge a proposed grizzly hunting plan in Wyoming. A lawsuit filed last week alleges that he Wyoming Game and Fish Commission illegally fast-tracked approval of the plan without allowing adequate public comment.

The approval would authorize the state’s first trophy hunt of grizzly bears in 40 years, but the public only had 30 days to review and comment on the plan — far too short to be able to evaluate the biological consequences of the proposed hunt. The commission simultaneously adopted a tri-state memorandum of agreement with Idaho and Montana to formalize quotas for grizzly hunts, allocating over 50 percent of the quota to Wyoming. Continue reading “Wildlife: Wyoming grizzly hunting plan challenged in court”

Judge says USFWS must analyze cumulative impacts before authorizing grizzly kills

Grizzlies are roaming farther north and encroaching on Polar bear habitat, PHOTO COURTESY U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY.
Grizzlies are the focus of an intensifying conservation battle in the northern Rockies. Photo courtesy U.S. Geological Survey.

New ruling foreshadows major legal battle over grizzly bear conservation

Staff Report

A federal judge says the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service violated environmental laws when it authorized the killing of four threatened grizzly bears in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park.

The agency allowed the lethal “taking” of the grizzlies in connection with an elk hunt in the park, but U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras ruled that the biological studies used by the agency didn’t meet the standards of the Endangered Species Act. Contreras said the agency must do a better job of analyzing the cumulative impacts of its decision. Continue reading “Judge says USFWS must analyze cumulative impacts before authorizing grizzly kills”

Wildlife: Secret talks open door for taking Northern Rockies grizzlies off the endangered species list

Wildlife activists gear up to fight proposal

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Grizzlies at play. Photo courtesy Kim Fense.

Staff Report

A classic wildlife conservation battle is shaping up in the northern Rockies, with conservation advocates lining up to challenge a state and federal plan to take grizzly bears off the Endangered Species List.

In a Sept. 25 letter, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service told state officials in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana that it plans to publish a delisting proposal by the end of the year.

But that move flies in the face of conservation science, according to the Center for Biological Diversity, which in a press release expressed concern that the plan could lead to state-supported trophy hunts. The federal government is ignoring increasing bear mortality rates and a declining population, the Center said in a press release.

Via email, a USFWS spokesperson said the agency believes that recovery is based on more than just the number of bears in the ecosystem.

“It depends upon a combination of factors including quantity and quality of habitat, adequate regulatory mechanisms, and a good balance of male and female bears that are well-distributed throughout the ecosystem. 

 “We consider 600 bears to be the lower limit at which there is no management and discretionary mortality is no longer allowable. The goal would be to manage for approximately 674 grizzly bears to ensure a sustainable and resilient population that utilizes the entire available habitat in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.  We do not anticipate population numbers to dip down to 600 bears.

” No formal agreements have been made. Any proposal to delist the Yellowstone grizzly bear would require a robust conservation plan and associated regulations for management of the bear post-delisting.  We continue to work with the states and partners on these issues.”

Continue reading “Wildlife: Secret talks open door for taking Northern Rockies grizzlies off the endangered species list”

Genetic study suggests Yellowstone grizzlies are headed toward recovery

An adult grizzly bear in the brush. PHOTO COURTESY THE U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE.
Are grizzlies in Yellowstone headed toward recovery? Photo courtesy USFWS.

USGS researchers track effective population size with DNA sampling

Staff Report

A new genetic study suggests the grizzly bear population in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem is growing to near the size needed to maintain healthy genetic diversity.

The latest report from the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team is sure to add more fuel to the controversy over whether grizzlies should taken off the Endangered Species List, as proposed by federal resource managers. Many conservation biologists say grizzlies are nowhere near recovery and that the move to delist them is based on politics, not science. Continue reading “Genetic study suggests Yellowstone grizzlies are headed toward recovery”