March 4, 2016
Yesterday, the Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to delist the grizzly bear population in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem, encompassing portions of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho.
This population of grizzly bear is currently listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Delisting the species will allow the states to manage the population outside Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.
This decision is long overdue. The grizzly bear population was originally delisted in 2007, but relisted in 2009 due to litigation. In 2012, then Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar sated the grizzly was “unquestionably recovered.” The population has been either steady or increasing for nearly a decade.
“This commonsense decision is long-awaited. While I support finally allowing more state rather than federal management of grizzlies, I wonder why it took so long when states have been properly managing grizzly bears for years. This is a step in the right direction, but it doesn’t go far enough. We need a streamlined delisting process to speed up non-controversial policy proposals like this one,” Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) said.