Grizzly bears still need protecting, US court rules

November 23, 2011
Conservationists welcomed a US appeals court ruling that grizzly bears still need protecting, after federal authorities sought to have them taken off an endangered species list.

Conservationists welcomed a US appeals court ruling that grizzly bears still need protecting, after federal authorities sought to have them taken off an endangered species list.

The Ninth Circuit Court ruled that the US Fish and Wildlife Service cannot take away Endangered from grizzlies in the Greater Yellowstone region of the Rocky Mountains.

Specifically it said the disappearance of whitebark pine, a crucial for grizzlies, potentially threatens the long-term survival of the bears, known as "ursus horribilis" in Latin, reports said.

"This case involves one of the American West’s most iconic wild animals in one of its most iconic landscapes," wrote Richard Tallman a member of the three-judge panel which returned the verdict.

"Based on the evidence of a relationship between reduced whitebark pine seed availability, increased grizzly mortality to reduced grizzly reproduction, it is logical to conclude that an overall decline in the region’s whitebark pine population would have a negative effect on its grizzly bear population."

The former Seattle lawyer was cited by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper as saying: "Now that this threat has emerged, the Service cannot take a full-speed-ahead, damn the torpedoes approach to de-listing."

Mike Clark, executive director of conservation group the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, hailed the verdict.

"We appreciate the strong language of the 9th Circuit Court saying that USFWS must further study the demise of the whitebark pine and its impact upon grizzlies before it can delist the Yellowstone griz," he said.

"Secondly, we look forward to working with the feds and state officials on plans that ultimately will delist the griz when it is appropriate. But the court has clearly ruled that such a time is not yet upon us."

Grizzlies used to range widely across the and the Great Plains, but hunting drastically reduced their numbers.

Today they are found only in scattered locations, mainly national parks including Yellowstone, which covers parts of the US states of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.

They can weigh up to 1,500 pounds (680 kilograms) and sport large shoulder humps. Despite their size, they can run up to 35 miles (55 kilometers) per hour, according to the US .

Explore further: Grizzlies may lose 'threatened' status

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2 / 5 (6) Nov 23, 2011
I live in Montana and the threat of wolves and grizzly bears passing through my backyard is getting more realistic every day through more and more local encounters. I bet every one of these federal judges would think their decision over if they were in my shoes. This is why federal judges should not be appointed for life.
3.7 / 5 (3) Nov 23, 2011
Shoot. Shovel. Shut up.
3.3 / 5 (3) Nov 23, 2011
If humans would stop deforesting and fragmenting their natural habitat, they wouldn't show up your backyard! We are only one of millions of species on this planet, of which many are threatened by premature extinction from mostly anthropogenic causes. If you want grizzlies and wolves to respect "your" property, respect theirs.
1.7 / 5 (6) Nov 23, 2011
Ok than stop consuming. Go vegetarian and ban people eating steaks and burgers etc. We are the top of the food chain and the land is here to use and to stay stagnate. There's no reason bears and wolves can't be regulated like game animals.

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