Request for emergency relisting of Yellowstone grizzlies for protection under the Endangered Species Act.
We the undersigned request that President Obama instruct the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service to immediately restore endangered species protections to the Yellowstone grizzly bear population for the following reasons:
1.) The Yellowstone grizzly's key food, whitebark pine seeds, has suddenly collapsed due to global warming. The trees are dying from mountain pine beetles that have moved higher up into the whitebark forests because of the warmer winter temperatures of the last decade. The irreversible loss of whitebark pine nuts will result in lower reproductive rates of grizzlies and much higher human-caused mortality.
2.) The highest death rate ever recorded for Yellowstone grizzlies occurred in 2008, the year after the bear was delisted by the USFWS. The government estimates 79 grizzlies died in the Yellowstone ecosystem. At least 37 of these deaths were caused directly by humans.
3.) The Department of Interior, represented by the USFWS, refused to consider restoring federal protection to Yellowstone's grizzlies at a court mandated settlement meeting in Missoula Montana on July 17, 2009. Advocacy for grizzly bear protection by federal agencies--who under the Bush administration have become increasingly isolated from public opinion and politicized--has been appalling; fresh leadership is sorely needed in USFWS' grizzly bear committee and team positions. For this reason, we are requesting the President to instruct the Secretary of Interior to order relisting.
4.) 18 grizzly bears have already died this year in the Yellowstone region. The majority of bear deaths take place later in the fall, during hunting season when grizzlies--deprived of their most important fall food, whitebark pine nuts--wander into lower elevations where they die as a result of encounters with humans. To avoid repeating last year's slaughter of Yellowstone's grizzlies, we are requesting an immediate relisting.
5.) Current management practices cannot save the grizzly in Yellowstone from the present rate of unsustainable mortality; adequate regulatory mechanisms are not in place. Only immediate restoration of ESA protections will ensure the Yellowstone grizzly has a chance of surviving the staggering global changes that threaten both bears and humans.
For more information:
"Yellowstone's Grizzly Bears Face Threats on Two Fronts," by Doug Peacock. Yale 360, May 14, 2009: http://e360.yale.edu/content/feature.msp?id=2152
"Yellowstone's Grizzlies Need Federal Protection," by Louisa Willcox. Saving Wildlife and Wild Places, September 16, 2009: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/lwillcox/yellowstone_grizzlies_need_fed.html
"Bearly Making It," by Andrea Peacock. Counterpunch, August 27, 2009: http://www.counterpunch.org/peacock08272009.html
Thank you for your consideration.