Fight to Protect Yellowstone Grizzlies Heats Up
Conservation groups are fighting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's plans to remove Yellowstone grizzly bears from the endangered species list.
The proposal would shift management of some 700 park-area bears to state agencies and allow the bears to be hunted.
Bonnie Rice with the Sierra Club fears the move could undo the years of progress spent restoring the species.
"Wyoming's particularly important because Wyoming has the majority of bears in the ecosystem," said Rice. "So bears that are stepping out of Yellowstone or Grand Teton, their future is very uncertain."
Rice says keeping the grizzly bear safe is also good for local economies.
"Grizzlies are big tourist attractions," Rice added. "Millions of people come to this region every year, they spend millions of dollars for the chance to see a grizzly bear in the wild, and so any revenue that comes in from hunting pales in comparison."
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has promised to "stay engaged" to ensure the grizzly bear remains recovered.
"We will continue to be part of a strong monitoring program, implementation of the conservation strategy, and partnership with our state and federal partners," said Director Dan Ashe. "We look forward to hearing from the public about the proposal and consulting with Native American tribes."