Elk NetworkReactions Strong to Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Ruling

General | September 27, 2018

Less than 24 hours after a federal judge in Montana vacated the delisting of the Greater Yellowstone grizzly population by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a Wyoming congressman took action. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) introduced legislation that directs the Department of Interior to re-issue its delisting decision. The bill would also prohibit further judicial review of the decision.

“The decision by a Federal District Court Judge in Montana to re-list the grizzly ignores science, and disregards the important work done by the state of Wyoming to establish an effective grizzly bear management plan,” said Cheney. “My bill will stop this abuse of the court system and put management of the grizzly back in the hands of experts in Wyoming.”

The judge’s ruling left state agencies, conservation organizations, ranchers and others both disappointed and frustrated.

“We are highly disappointed with this decision,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “Once again we see that extreme environmental groups continue to clog up the delisting process at a time when we should be celebrating the recovery of grizzlies in the region. Scientists gathered data and population numbers that show grizzlies in the region surpassed all recovery criteria and are recovered. This ruling bolsters the case for Congress to update the Endangered Species Act.”

“This is unfortunate. Game and Fish is a strong proponent of all wildlife management being led by people who live in this state and having management decisions made at the local level,” said Scott Talbott, director of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

“Putting the Yellowstone grizzly population back on the endangered species list is a setback for grizzly bear conservation,” said Idaho Fish and Game Director Virgil Moore. “Idaho wildlife managers have worked for decades with local communities, our sister states, and federal agencies to build a healthy Yellowstone population. Given the social and scientific investment we’ve made in grizzly bear recovery, this ruling is a big disappointment. We can’t reconcile this court outcome with the conservation success so many worked hard to achieve.”

“I really don’t understand why our wildlife is managed from the bench rather than letting our wildlife officials — the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, the people that are trained to do this,” Todd Stevie, owner of Thomson Outfitters in Pinedale, told the Associated Press. “That’s what their job is. That’s what they’re trained to do.”

(Photo source: Wyoming Game and Fish Department)