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.



Advertisements

Latest Tech & Science News

  • Excavators unearth ancient tombs in Beijing suburb

    Tech & Science CTV News
    BEIJING - The Chinese capital's future administrative hub was already bustling 2,000 years ago. Government agencies excavating a site in the far southeastern Beijing suburbs say they have found ancient city walls and more than 1,000 tombs, most of which are dated to the eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 AD) and some even earlier. Source
  • U.S. proposal plots future of phone calls on flights

    Tech & Science CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Airlines could let passengers make in-flight phone calls using Wi-Fi under a proposal from federal regulators. Flight attendants and others have complained that the calls could be disruptive. But the Department of Transportation said Thursday that it envisioned allowing the calls if airlines tell all customers about the policy when they buy their tickets. Source
  • 'We lost a good man today': Chris Hadfield on the death of John Glenn

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Col. Chris Hadfield — Canada's most recognizable former astronaut — says the death of his idol and colleague John Glenn is tragic. "He was absolutely one of the inspiring figures that dictated the life that I chose to follow," Hadfield told CBC Calgary News at 6 on Thursday, after news of Glenn's passing surfaced earlier in the day. Source
  • Researchers sound alarm over millions of tonnes of plastic dumped into oceans

    Tech & Science CBC News
    A team of researchers set off from the southern California city of Los Angeles to the Hawaiian islands on a mission to collect data in the Pacific Ocean which might help find routes taken by millions of tonnes of plastic dumped into the seas each year. Source
  • Former astronaut, U.S. senator John Glenn dead at 95

    Tech & Science CBC News
    John Glenn, whose life took him to the celestial heights as the first American to orbit the Earth, then into the trenches of congressional infighting as a longtime Democratic senator, before he re-entered space as a 77-year-old, has died. Source
  • John Glenn, first U.S. astronaut to orbit Earth, dies

    Tech & Science CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- John Glenn, whose 1962 flight as the first U.S. astronaut to orbit the Earth made him an all-American hero and propelled him to a long career in the U.S. Senate, died Thursday. The last survivor of the original Mercury 7 astronauts was 95. Source
  • Sask. researcher helps ID feathered dinosaur tail trapped in amber

    Tech & Science CTV News
    REGINA - A Canadian researcher has helped identify a 99-million-year-old dinosaur tail which has been preserved in amber. The specimen was purchased from a Myanmar amber market in 2015 by a Chinese academic who recognized its potential. Source
  • It's already happening: Hundreds of animals, plants locally extinct due to climate change

    Tech & Science CBC News
    It may be tempting to take comfort in the idea that big changes related to climate change are decades away. But a new study from the University of Arizona has found that local extinctions related to global warming have already occurred in almost half of the species studied. Source
  • Feathered dinosaur tail found trapped in amber

    Tech & Science CBC News
    In 2015, scientist Lida Xing came across a beautiful and curious piece at an amber market in Myitkyina, Myanmar, likely destined to become a piece of jewelery. Trapped inside the yellow piece was a feather that others had overlooked as belonging to a plant. Source
  • 6.8 M earthquake strikes off north coast of California

    Tech & Science CBC News
    A 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck off the north coast of California at around 6:50 a.m. PT Thursday, the U.S. Geological Service reported. The quake struck roughly 165 kilometres west of Eureka. No tsunami alert was issued and no damage has been reported. Source