The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) recently announced that the grizzly bear in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is recovered and proposed removing it from the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation agrees with this decision and strongly advocates for state management of all wildlife, including grizzlies.
FWS is now accepting public comment on the delisting. Please take the time to issue a comment in support of this decision by going here and then clicking on the “Comment Now!” button. The deadline (May 10) to do so is quickly approaching.
As you know, grizzlies were delisted back in 2007 but a lawsuit filed by environmentalists influenced a federal judge to overturn that ruling. Many who oppose delisting grizzly bears now are more opposed to state-based management control than they are opposed to the actual delisting. There is an obvious movement afoot to do away with states managing wildlife by the more radical voices of environmentalists. The stakes are higher than just delisting grizzly bears.
The Yellowstone grizzly population has reached all three criteria for delisting: at least 500 bears (reached in 2001), required distribution in 16 of 18 Recovery Bear Management Units (reached in 1999), and maintaining a population of 600-747 bears while maintaining mortality limits for independent females, males and dependent young.
Hunters and anglers who purchase licenses so far contributed millions to grizzly bear recovery efforts in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. This is a testament to how sportsmen and women pursuing their passions help fund other important wildlife programs.
Thank you for your attention to and support of this important issue.
M. David Allen
RMEF President & CEO