Species far from recovered, wildlife advocates say
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”→
New study shows many bears still rely on dwindling whitebark pine seeds
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?”→
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”→
Activists say public was short-changed on comment period
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”→
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.”