On June 22, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced the delisting of the recovered Yellowstone population of grizzly bears from the Endangered Species Act. The Department of Interior will now transfer management authority back to the states and tribes of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.
“Delisting this grizzly bear population is something that the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) and the sportsmen’s community has been working on for years,” said CSF President Jeff Crane. “Because of decades of successful conservation efforts to recover the population, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has made the decision to finally transfer management authority back to the states.”
The Greater Yellowstone grizzly bear population has doubled its range since the 1970s and now occupies more than 22,500 square miles. According to a Department of Interior press release, “Stable population numbers for grizzly bears for more than a decade also suggest that the [Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem] is at or near its capacity to support grizzly bears.”
“As a kid who grew up in Montana, I can tell you that this is a long time coming and very good news for many communities and advocates in the Yellowstone region," said Secretary Zinke.
In December 2016, the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council, a Federal Advisory Committee of hunting conservation leaders that advises the Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior, including CSF’s Jeff Crane, sent a letter to the Secretaries with strong support of delisting the Yellowstone grizzly bear population. The letter stated, “It is imperative to finalize this delisting correctly and completely and show that recovered populations of large predators can be successfully returned to state management.”
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