Federal officials decide to keep Yellowstone grizzlies off the Endangered Species List

After a second round of review and more than 3,600 additional public comments, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has decided not to restore protections for about 700 grizzly bears in the Yellowstone region. The decision leaves the bears' management to the states, which doesn’t bode well for a species that is far from fully recovered and occupies less than 5 percent of its historical range. A federal appellate court recently rejected a similar move by the FWS to delist wolves in the western Great Lakes area, which failed to account for habitat loss and the implications of delisting on the remaining wolf population. But the FWS is about to repeat its mistakes. The agency is now moving forward with the Yellowstone grizzly delisting, citing a population resurgence—but failing to acknowledge the threats that climate change, isolation, habitat loss, and conflicts with humans increasingly pose to Yellowstone grizzlies. Although more court battles to protect the bears are likely on their way, plans for public hunting are also already in the works, with states like Wyoming potentially allowing hunters to kill up to 24 bears in one season.

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