Grizzly bear hunting protections to be lifted in Yellowstone-region

BILLINGS, Mont. - Wildlife officials have divvied up how many grizzly bears could be killed by hunters in the Yellowstone region of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho as the states seek control of a species shielded from hunting for the past 40 years, according to documents obtained by the Associated Press.

See Full Article

The region's grizzlies currently are under federal protection, but that could change in coming months, turning control over to the states. A draft agreement detailing the states' plans for the animals was obtained by The Associated Press.

The agreement puts no limits on grizzly bear hunting outside a 19,300-square mile management zone centred on Yellowstone National Park. Inside the zone, which includes wilderness and forest lands adjacent to the park, hunters in Wyoming would get a 58 per cent share of the harvest, a reflection that it's home to the bulk of the region's bears. Montana would get 34 per cent and Idaho 8 per cent.

The management zone has an estimated 717 bears. There is no estimate for how many live just outside the area, although biologists say the number is increasing as grizzly bears expand into new habitat.

Wildlife advocates say the bear population remains too small to withstand much hunting. That's a particular concern given the large numbers of bears already dying, including during surprise run-ins with hunters and after livestock depredations that prompt officials to trap and kill problem bears.

In 2015, at least 59 Yellowstone-area grizzlies were believed to have been killed or trapped and removed by government agencies. That's the most since the animal was given protection under the Endangered Species Act in 1975.

Despite the deaths, state officials say the grizzly population has recovered from excessive hunting and trapping that exterminated grizzlies across most of the U.S. in the early 1900s. The officials have increased pressure on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Director Dan Ashe in recent months to revoke the animal's threatened status.

Directors of the states' wildlife agencies told Ashe in a Dec. 4 letter that such a step was long overdue.

"It is critically important that we capitalize on our tremendous progress and momentum....by proceeding with a long overdue delisting" of bears from the threatened species list, the directors wrote. It was signed by Idaho Fish and Game Director Virgil Moore, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Director Jeff Hagener and Wyoming Game and Fish Director Scott Talbott.

Montana wildlife activist Louisa Wilcox says the states' push for hunting ignores the many bears already dying due to other causes.

"You're not even hunting them and you have this ongoing pile-up of dead bears," Wilcox said. "Adding a hunt will drive down the population. It's exactly the wrong thing to do."

State officials said bear hunts would be conservative and need approval from wildlife commissioners following a public comment period. The size of each harvest would be on a sliding scale. More hunting would be possible when the population tops 675 bears, and hunting would be largely barred if that figure falls below 600 animals.

"We're definitely not talking about a large number. We're not talking hundreds or anywhere near that," said Wyoming Game and Fish spokesman Renny MacKay.

A decision on whether protections should be lifted is due in early 2016, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Barring a successful court challenge, it would take approximately a year for such a rule to go into effect.



Advertisements

Latest Tech & Science News

  • SpaceX launches its first recycled rocket in historic leap

    Tech & Science CTV News
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- SpaceX successfully launched its first recycled rocket Thursday, the biggest leap yet in its bid to drive down costs and speed up flights. The Falcon 9 blasted off from Florida's Kennedy Space Center, hoisting a broadcasting satellite into the clear early evening sky on the historic rocket reflight. Source
  • Twitter eases 140-character limit in replies

    Tech & Science CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Twitter has found more creative ways to ease its 140-character limit without officially raising it. Now, the company says that when you reply to someone -- or to a group -- usernames will no longer count toward those 140 characters. Source
  • Birds hit by cars are, well, bird-brained

    Tech & Science CTV News
    What's the difference between birds that get killed by cars, and those that don't? The dead ones tend to have smaller brains, scientists who performed 3,521 avian autopsies said Wednesday. What might be called the "bird brain rule" applies to different species, depending on the ratio of grey matter to body mass, they reported in the journal Royal Society Open Science. Source
  • Astronauts complete 7-hour spacewalk to set up new parking spot on ISS

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Two astronauts are back inside the International Space Station following a spacewalk that took an unintended turn when a piece of equipment got away. The cloth bundle floated away Thursday midway through a spacewalk by Peggy Whitson and Shane Kimbrough. Source
  • ?SpaceX to launch first reused rocket, testing cost-cutting model

    Tech & Science CBC News
    SpaceX is about to launch its first recycled rocket. The Falcon 9 rocket was on the pad at Florida's Kennedy Space Center, poised for a Thursday evening liftoff. It's the first time SpaceX founder Elon Musk has tried to fly a salvaged booster. Source
  • ?SpaceX launches first reused rocket, testing cost-cutting model

    Tech & Science CBC News
    SpaceX is about to launch its first recycled rocket. The Falcon 9 rocket was on the pad at Florida's Kennedy Space Center, poised for a Thursday evening liftoff. It's the first time SpaceX founder Elon Musk has tried to fly a salvaged booster. Source
  • World's oldest spacewoman sets spacewalking record

    Tech & Science CTV News
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- The world's oldest and most experienced spacewoman, Peggy Whitson, broke another record Thursday as she floated out of the International Space Station to set up a new parking spot. It was the eighth spacewalk of her career, the most ever performed by a woman. Source
  • Spacewalking astronauts lose piece of shielding, floats away

    Tech & Science CTV News
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Spacewalking astronauts lost an important piece of cloth shielding needed for the International Space Station on Thursday when it floated away. Astronaut Peggy Whitson immediately reported the mishap to Mission Control, which tracked the bundle as it drifted off. Source
  • Spacewalkers lose piece of shielding, use patch instead

    Tech & Science CTV News
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Spacewalking astronauts carried out an impromptu patch job outside the International Space Station on Thursday, after losing a vital piece of cloth shielding when it floated away. As the drama unfolded, Peggy Whitson set a record for the most spacewalks by a woman -- eight -- and the most accumulated time spent spacewalking -- well over 50 hours. Source
  • Researchers discover flavour genes in marijuana

    Tech & Science CTV News
    VANCOUVER - Consumers can trust what varieties of wine taste like regardless of the store they buy it from, and they could soon have similar expectations for strains of marijuana, say researchers at the University of British Columbia. Source