U.S. seeks to end grizzly protections in Yellowstone

BILLINGS, Mont. - The federal government is proposing to lift threatened-species protections for hundreds of Yellowstone-area grizzlies, opening the door to future hunts for the fearsome bears across parts of three states for the first time since the 1970s.

See Full Article

The proposal caps a four-decade, government-sponsored effort to rebuild the grizzly population and follows the lifting of protections in recent years for more than a dozen other species, including the grey wolf, brown pelican and flying squirrel.

Hunting within Yellowstone National Park would still be prohibited. But the proposal could allow animals to be taken in surrounding parts of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.

"By the time the curtain closes on the Obama administration, we are on track to have delisted more species due to recovery than all previous administrations combined," U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe told The Associated Press. "We've done that because of several decades of hard work, like with the grizzly bear."

Grizzlies once roamed much of North America and came to symbolize the continent's untamed wilderness. Hunters and trappers had nearly wiped them out across most of the Lower 48 states by the late 1800s.

Thursday's announcement came as conflicts between humans and grizzly bears have been on the rise, including six people fatally mauled since 2010. A record 59 bears were killed by humans last year, often by wildlife managers following attacks on livestock.

That's resulted in pressure to turn over management of the animals to states, in part so hunting can be used to control the population. But wildlife advocates declared the government's announcement premature and warned that it could reverse the species' gains.

"There's still a lot of uncertainty facing this population," said Sylvia Fallon, senior scientist for the Natural Resources Defence Council.

A final decision on the proposal is due within a year. It could come sooner if state wildlife commissioners act quickly to adopt rules on how much hunting is allowed. Those rules are not mandatory under the federal proposal, federal officials said.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock said the bear population would be responsibly managed by state wildlife officials. If a public hunt for the animals is pursued, he said, it could be done in a way that avoids killing bears that live on the periphery of Yellowstone.

"Yellowstone wildlife is treasured. We understand that. We'll manage them in a way that addresses that sensitivity," Bullock said.

Protections would remain in place for about 1,000 bears in and around Glacier National Park and smaller populations elsewhere in Montana, Idaho and Washington state. Grizzlies are not protected in Alaska, where hunting has long been allowed.

Since grizzlies in the Lower 48 were added to the endangered and threatened species list in 1975, the number in the Yellowstone region increased from 136 animals to an estimated 700 to 1,000 today, according to government researchers.

Yet after years of growth, the grizzly population plateaued in recent years, and some of the wildlife advocates say it's too soon to allow hunting. Also opposed are dozens of American Indian tribes that view the grizzly as sacred.


Associated Press Writer Mead Gruver in Cheyenne, Wyoming, contributed to this report.


Latest Tech & Science News

  • 'Dota 2' championship makes historic Vancouver move

    Tech & Science CTV News
    This year's edition of eSports' biggest annual tournament, The International "Dota 2" Championships, will take place in Vancouver after six years in Seattle. With a prize pool regularly floating north of US$20 million, The International is a prestige fixture on the eSports circuit. Source
  • Facebook's recurring nightmare: Helping muddy up elections

    Tech & Science CTV News
    MENLO PARK, Calif. -- Facebook has a problem it just can't kick: People keep exploiting it in ways that could sway elections, and in the worst cases even undermine democracy. News reports that Facebook let the Trump-affiliated data mining firm Cambridge Analytica abscond with data from tens of millions of users mark the third time in roughly a year the company appears to have been outfoxed by crafty outsiders in this way. Source
  • U.K. lawmaker: Facebook misled Parliament over data leak risk

    Tech & Science CTV News
    LONDON -- The head of the British Parliament's media committee on Sunday accused Facebook of misleading lawmakers by downplaying the risk of users' data being shared without their consent. Conservative legislator Damian Collins said he would ask Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg or another executive to appear before his committee, which is investigating disinformation and "fake news. Source
  • Calgary ecologist develops new guidelines to safely move frogs away from human development

    Tech & Science CBC News
    A Calgary Zoo ecologist has helped develop new guidelines to protect frogs, salamanders and other amphibians impacted by human development on the prairies. "Amphibians are really sensitive because their skin will absorb all kinds of environmental contaminants or toxins," said Leah Randall, a population ecologist with the centre for conservation research at the Calgary Zoo. Source
  • One of the driest places on Earth struggles to safeguard its most precious resource: water

    Tech & Science CBC News
    This story is part of our series Water at Risk, which looks at Cape Town's drought and some potential risks to the water supply facing parts of Canada and the Middle East. Read more stories in the series. Source
  • Vibrating muscles help arm amputees 'feel' their prosthetic hand movements, study suggests

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Rob Anderson was fighting wildfires in Alberta when the helicopter he was in crashed into the side of a mountain. He survived, but lost his left arm and left leg. More than 10 years after that accident, Anderson, now 39, says prosthetic limb technology has come a long way, and he feels fortunate to be using "top of the line stuff" to help him function as normally as possible. Source
  • Emojis are everywhere and they're changing how we communicate

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Love them ??or hate them ?, emojis are everywhere, spreading through our texts, social media posts, and emails. They're in our inboxes ?, on the big screen ?, and even being used as evidence ? in courtrooms. Source
  • Canadian hobbyists help shed light on mysterious northern lights phenomenon 'Steve'

    Tech & Science CBC News
    The mysterious light in the sky had appeared so often that Canadian northern lights watchers gave it a name: Steve. Unlike those famous pulsating ribbons of light that stretch across the sky, Steve would appear as a narrow arch of purple light, sometimes paired with green fence-like features. Source
  • Platypus milk has protein with potential to fight superbugs

    Tech & Science CBC News
    The milk of the duck-billed platypus has a unique protein with antimicrobial properties that Australian scientists believe could be a new lead in creating antibiotics effective against superbugs. The platypus is already a strange creature — a venomous mammal with a beaver-like tail and duck bill. Source
  • World's biggest battery in Australia to trump Musk's

    Tech & Science CTV News
    British billionaire businessman Sanjeev Gupta will build the world's biggest battery in South Australia, officials said Friday, overtaking U.S. star entrepreneur Elon Musk's project in the same state last year. The 120MW/140MWh battery storage facility will support a new solar farm at the Whyalla Steelworks, which was taken over by Gupta's GFG Alliance when it bought Australia's cash-strapped steelmaking giant Arrium last year. Source