The North Circuit Court of Appeals issued a unanimous opinion on Wednesday upholding a 2018 court act affirming that grizzly bears will remain under the Endangered Species Act and are therefore protected from hunting that would have taken place in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana.
In June 2017, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, under the Trump administration pulled the federal protections from Greater Yellowstone area grizzly bears and turned over the management authority to Idaho, Montana and Wyoming – states surrounding Yellowstone.
Both Wyoming and Idaho officials quickly announced plans to permit trophy hunters to kill up to two dozen grizzly bears. A temporary restraining order from wildlife advocates contended the US Fish and Wildlife Service had essentially rejected science, the impact on the bears’ food sources and the need for higher populations to boost the long-term genetic health.
The attorney for the Western Environmental Law Center, Matthew Bishop, applauded the decision.
“Grizzlies require continued protection under federal law until the species as a whole is rightfully recovered. The best available science says not only are grizzly bears still recovering, but they also need our help to bounce back from an extinction threat humans caused in the first place,” Bishop said in a statement.
“Misrepresenting the facts to promote killing threatened grizzly bears for fun is disgraceful.”
Sarah McMillan, the conservation director of WildEarth Guardians also applauded the triumph of science over politics.
“Grizzly bears are an iconic species whose very existence is intertwined with the concept of endangered species protection in the United States. This decision solidifies the belief of numerous wildlife advocates and native tribes that protecting grizzly bears should be based upon science and the law and not the whims of special interest groups, such as those who want to trophy hunt these great bears.”
Score another win for the wild animals.
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