Hunters advised not to expect immediate grizzly bear hunting

A large brown grizzly bear stands on a log in a forest as a young bear cub plays nearby

A large brown grizzly bear stands on a log in a forest as a young bear cub plays nearby

US government officials say grizzly bears in Yellowstone National Park region are no longer threatened, and that they will lift protections that have been in place for more than 40 years.

A decision by federal officials to revoke special protections for grizzly bears near Yellowstone National Park will put the animals back in the crosshairs of trophy hunters and may reverse decades of conservation efforts, animal activists said.

In 1975, when the grizzly was placed on the endangered list, the figures were even grimmer: Only 136 bears roaming in and around the park. On Thursday, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said it is now time to call the operation a success and to remove the bear from the Endangered Species Act, instead allowing states to take control over its future.

"It will be great to see the grizzly bear recovered and off the endangered species list", said Sen.

The question that has plagued every conversation about Yellowstone grizzlies for well over a year was finally answered today.

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He said Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana have agreements in place to continue coordination with federal land managers to ensure bears are managed responsibly and in a sustainable manner. "Grizzly bears have met or exceeded recovery objectives since 2003 and have long warranted delisting", Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead (R) said.

One key element that will be enforced is restricted hunting to manage the Yellowstone grizzly population.

The Interior Department's Fish and Wildlife Service announced the delisting decision Thursday, which immediately drew rebukes from conservationists and Democrats.

Environmentalists say that while grizzlies have made a comeback, their recovery could falter without federal safeguards.

SCI has always been involved in the grizzly bear delisting saga.

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Grizzlies have been protected under the Endangered Species Act for more than 40 years.

"We anticipate going to court to challenge this premature, deeply concerning decision", said Bethany Cotton, wildlife program director for the conservation group WildEarth Guardians.

Zinke said the recovery of the bear was the result of decades of hard work by state, tribal, federal and private partners. For example, it's likely that they'll allow for limited trophy hunting for grizzly bears in those states starting sometime soon.

Should the grizzly bear be delisted-or this just yet another terrible environmental move by the Trump administration, divorced from science and decency? Activists successfully stymied efforts in 2007 when the Fish and Wildlife Service last tried delisting the animals. Wyoming has adopted a Grizzly Bear Management Plan outlining how management will occur after the bears are delisted.

Officials said that conservation efforts for the bear, a more than fourfold increase in its population and state policies created to protect the bears show that the delisting is warranted. In October 2016, members of the Cheyenne, Blackfeet, Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes signed the Grizzly Treaty, committing to restore and revitalize the threatened grizzly bear across North America.

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