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

  • Nintendo to release SNES Classic Sept. 29

    Tech & Science Toronto Sun
    Nintendo will soon release a miniature version of its SNES home console, with pre-loaded fan favourites, such as Super Mario World, Donkey Kong Country and Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, the company announced Monday. Source
  • Social media giants join to combat online extremist content

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Social media giants Facebook, Google's YouTube, Twitter and Microsoft said on Monday they were forming a global working group to combine their efforts to remove terrorist content from their platforms. Responding to pressure from governments in Europe and the United States after a spate of militant attacks, the companies said they would share technical solutions for removing terrorist content, commission research to inform their counter-speech efforts and work more with counter-terrorism…
  • HitchBOT creators to study whether robots can help patients change behaviour

    Tech & Science CBC News
    The inventors of HitchBOT, the friendly, traveling robot that delighted fans in Canada and beyond, saw the project as a way to ask the question, "Can robots trust humans?" Now they're teaming up again with a physician to ask a different question: "Can robots help humans to change?" It's a project that's part of a new collaboration between IBM and Hamilton Health Sciences — a two-year, first-of-its-kind clinical trial with medical patients about whether "social robotics" and AI can make a…
  • Rhino breeder in South Africa plans online auction of horn

    Tech & Science CTV News
    JOHANNESBURG -- A rhino breeder in South Africa is planning an online auction of rhino horn, capitalizing on a court ruling that opened the way to domestic trade despite an international ban that was imposed to curb widespread poaching. Source
  • Subway dig uncovers 'Pompeii-like scene' in Rome

    Tech & Science CTV News
    This photo made available Monday, June 26, 2017, by the Italian Culture Ministry, shows parts of the 1,800-year-old skeleton of a dog, which apparently perished in a blaze in Rome. (Italian Culture Ministry Via AP) Source
  • 10 million tonnes of fish catches dumped back into oceans: study

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Fishing fleets dump about 10 per cent of the fish they catch back into the ocean in an "enormous waste" of low-value fish despite some progress in limiting discards in recent years, scientists said on Monday. Source
  • 5 rare Barbary lion cubs go on show at zoo in Germany

    Tech & Science CTV News
    BERLIN - Five rare Barbary lion cubs have been shown to the public for the first time at a zoo in southwestern Germany, delighting visitors as they clumsily plodded through their enclosure. The babies -- females Jumina and Lin and males Baz, Chaka and Sab -- were born two months ago, but could only be shown off at the Neuwied zoo Monday because their immune systems weren't strong enough earlier. Source
  • Ohio working to reduce harmful Lake Erie algae

    Tech & Science CTV News
    TOLEDO, Ohio -- Ohio's environmental regulators who have pledged to drastically cut what's feeding the harmful algae in Lake Erie will consolidate oversight of the work to make sure money is being well spent and research isn't overlapping. Source
  • Fisheries officials trying to determine what caused death of six right whales

    Tech & Science CTV News
    MONCTON, N.B. -- Marine mammal experts plan to meet today to discuss next steps as they try to figure out what caused the death of six North Atlantic right whales found floating in the Gulf of St. Source
  • Deaths of six right whales in Gulf of St. Lawrence still a mystery

    Tech & Science CTV News
    MONCTON, N.B. -- Experts are preparing for the massive, messy task of removing multiple dead whales from the sea for necropsies as they investigate at least six mysterious whale deaths in the Gulf of St. Source