Judge restores protections for Yellowstone grizzlies, hunts canceled

September 24, 2018
Hunts of the Yellowstone grizzly bear were canceled

A US federal judge has restored endangered species protections to the Yellowstone grizzly bear a year after it was taken off the list by the Trump administration, preventing the animal from being hunted for the first time in decades.

In his ruling issued Monday, US District Judge Dana Christensen in Montana said the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) had acted "arbitrarily and capriciously" in its delisting of the species from the Endangered Species Act in June 2017.

"This case is not about the ethics of hunting, and it is not about solving human- or livestock-grizzly conflicts as a practical or philosophical matter," Christensen said, adding his sole responsibility was to determine whether the agency had exceeded its legal authority.

He found that that FWS had failed to consider how delisting the Yellowstone-area grizzly bear would impact other grizzly populations, adding that a pair of studies the government had quoted to back its decision themselves noted that the species' long term health depends on the introduction of new genetic material.

The Crow Indian Tribe and several other Native American groups, who had opposed the decision to restore hunting that threatened around 700 bears at Yellowstone National Park, petitioned the court last year.

In late August, Christensen blocked the first hunt that would have taken place in the park, which is mostly in Wyoming but also spreads to Idaho and Montana. Up to 23 bears could have ended up as trophies as a result.

"The grizzly is a big part of why the Yellowstone region remains among our nation's last great wild places," said Tim Preso, a lawyer for Earthjustice which represented some of the litigants.

"This is a victory for the bears and for people from all walks of life who come to this region to see the grizzly in its natural place in the world."

Lawrence Killsback, president of the Northern Cheyenne Nation, said: "The Northern Cheyenne Nation views the grizzly bear as a relative entitled to our respect and protection from harm.

"We have a responsibility to speak for the bears, who cannot speak for themselves," he added.

"Today, we celebrate this victory and will continue to advocate on behalf of the Yellowstone grizzly bears until the population is recovered, including within the Tribe's ancestral homeland in Montana and other states."

Explore further: US judge delays grizzly bear hunts in Rockies two more weeks

Related Stories

US judge delays grizzly bear hunts in Rockies two more weeks

September 13, 2018

A U.S. judge on Thursday delayed for two more weeks the first grizzly bear hunts in the Lower 48 states in almost three decades, saying he needed more time to consider if federal protections for the animals should be restored.

US considers ending protections for northwest Montana bears

September 29, 2017

On the heels of lifting protections for Yellowstone-area grizzly bears the U.S. government plans to consider the same action for bruins in northwestern Montana, home to the largest group of grizzlies in the Lower 48.

Yellowstone grizzlies removed from threatened species list

July 31, 2017

The U.S. government lifted protections for grizzly bears in the Yellowstone region on Monday, though it will be up to the courts to decide whether the revered and fearsome icon of the West stays off the threatened species ...

Tribes want protections to remain for sacred grizzly bears

November 13, 2015

American Indians across the Western U.S. are challenging moves by federal wildlife officials to lift protections for grizzly bears that roam a vast wilderness centered on Yellowstone National Park, citing worries over potential ...

Judge: Bears near US-Canada border merit endangered status

August 23, 2017

Animals and plants can be considered endangered even if they are not on the brink of extinction, a judge ruled in overturning the U.S. government's re-classification of a small population of grizzly bears living in the forests ...

Recommended for you

Paleontologists report world's biggest Tyrannosaurus rex

March 22, 2019

University of Alberta paleontologists have just reported the world's biggest Tyrannosaurus rex and the largest dinosaur skeleton ever found in Canada. The 13-metre-long T. rex, nicknamed "Scotty," lived in prehistoric Saskatchewan ...

NASA instruments image fireball over Bering Sea

March 22, 2019

On Dec. 18, 2018, a large "fireball—the term used for exceptionally bright meteors that are visible over a wide area—exploded about 16 miles (26 kilometers) above the Bering Sea. The explosion unleashed an estimated 173 ...

Coffee-based colloids for direct solar absorption

March 22, 2019

Solar energy is one of the most promising resources to help reduce fossil fuel consumption and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions to power a sustainable future. Devices presently in use to convert solar energy into thermal ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.