Yesterday, The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a federal court’s 2018 ruling that the Trump administration illegally stripped Endangered Species Act protection from Yellowstone’s grizzly bears. The decision spares the grizzlies from being hunted for so-called “trophies” in Wyoming and Idaho.
The ruling states that Yellowstone’s grizzly bears must remain protected under the Endangered Species Act. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals pointed to the lack of “concrete, enforceable mechanisms, to ensure long-term genetic health of Yellowstone’s grizzlies.” The ruling explains that a “commitment to increase population size is required to ensure long-term viability,” and describes the grizzly bear as “an iconic symbol of the Rocky Mountain West.”
“This is a tremendous victory for all who cherish Yellowstone’s grizzly bears and for those who have worked to ensure that they are protected under the Endangered Species Act,” said Andrea Zaccardi, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity in a statement. “Grizzlies still have a long way to go before recovery. Hunting these beautiful animals around America’s most treasured national park should never again be an option.”
In 2017, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed the Yellowstone-region grizzly bear population from the federal endangered and threatened species list. Following this, Wyoming and Idaho, for the first time in more than 40 years, announced grizzly hunts that would have allowed for up to 23 bears to be killed outside of Yellowstone National Park.
The Northern Cheyenne Tribe and several conservation groups challenged the Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision, and a Montana federal court’s 2018 ruling which blocked the hunts. The Fish and Wildlife Service and numerous intervenors, composed of states of the Yellowstone region and private hunting and farming organizations, appealed the district court’s order.
“The courts have repeatedly slammed the Fish and Wildlife Service for prematurely removing federal protections for grizzly bears,” stated Zaccardi. “I hope the agency will now concentrate on fully recovering these magnificent animals, not stripping them of needed safeguards.”
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The post Victory! A Court Order Rules That Yellowstone’s Grizzly Bears Will Remain Protected From Hunters Under The Endangered Species Act appeared first on World Animal News.