Yellowstone Park and its surrounding areas are home to hundreds of animals including wolves, bison, elk, antelope, and the magnificent grizzly bear. Grizzly bears living in the Yellowstone region gained protection as a threatened species in 1975 after the population dropped to a mere 136, mostly due to overhunting.
Fast forward to August of last year when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service revoked protections, declaring the population not only had made a successful recovery, but that they had done all they can to address all other threats. They wasted no time setting up a “trophy hunt” that would have allowed the slaughter of 23 bears right outside Yellowstone National Park this fall. Thankfully, a judge ruled the Trump Administration’s decision to remove the grizzly from the Endangered and Threatened Species List was illegal!
The grizzly bear has suffered high levels of human-caused deaths in recent years, and as Bonnie Rice, Senior Representative for Sierra Club’s Our Wild America Campaign, stated, “Changing food sources, isolation, inadequate state management plans and other threats that grizzly bears continue to face warrant strong protections until they reach full recovery.”
Earthjustice, a nonprofit environmental law organization that represented the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, as well as the National Park Conservation Association in the case, argued to restore protections for Yellowstone grizzlies. Post-trial, Earthjustice attorney Tim Preso said, “The grizzly is a big part of why the Yellowstone region remains among our nation’s last great wild places … This is a victory for the bears and for people from all walks of life who come to this region to see the grizzly in its natural place in the world.”
Lawrence Killsback, President of the Northern Cheyenne Nation added, “We have a responsibility to speak for the bears, who cannot speak for themselves. Today we celebrate this victory and will continue to advocate on behalf of the Yellowstone grizzly bears until the population is recovered, including within the Tribe’s ancestral homeland in Montana and other states.”
We certainly praise these activists for their incredible work to protect the grizzly bear and hope to see more action like this in the future!
Image Source: Pexels