On September 16, Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon explained that Wyoming plans to ask the federal government to “remove its protection for grizzly bears” in the Yellowstone region. The lift of these protections could lead to the hunting of grizzlies.
The grizzly bears in Yellowstone can be up to 700 pounds, according to ABC. Although grizzlies come with negative connotations as apex predators, they are suited perfectly to eating just berries and moths.
Luckily, The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) now refers to Yellowstone’s grizzlies as “biologically recovered.” Contrary to the bear’s population of 100 in 1975 in the Yellowstone region, around 1,000 exist in the area today. With the bear’s increase in population, they have started straying from their core habitat. The bears pose a threat to visitors of Yellowstone National Park and have been killing livestock, having altercations with people, and raiding properties. Because of the intrusive measures the bears are taking, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department has had to kill up to 35 grizzly bears. Wyoming hopes to delist grizzly bear protections simply because they feel they need to take extreme measures to defend themselves.
“It just seems like a waste of resource but that’s really our only option right now.”
– Brian Nesvik, director of Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
The debate to delist grizzly bears comes after a federal judge in 2018 restored protections against grizzly hunts, which Former U.S. President Donald Trump had previously imposed. Nesvik claims that grizzly bear hunting in Wyoming would “have strict limits” if the request gets passed. Many citizens don’t support this request, as they predict this simple delisting issue will turn grizzly bears into “trophy hunting targets.”
The fate of this request is up to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which will have 90 days to decide once the request is submitted. The request will determine whether delisting under the Endangered Species Act may be justified in Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. Wyoming hopes to submit the request within the following weeks.