We, the undersigned, congratulate you on your ground-breaking nomination as Secretary of the Interior.
In one of your first actions, we request you consider grizzly bears when deciding upon the appointment of the new director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
For decades, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has attempted to delist grizzly bears, despite the species still being in peril in the Lower 48. In the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the species still faces significant threats from genetic isolation; habitat degradation, in the form of invasive species and climate change; and human conflict; as a result, grizzly mortalities have reached record numbers in recent years. The same is true for the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem. Other recovery areas do not have a sustainable population, either.
We want to thank you for being a leader on grizzly bears, including sponsoring the Tribal Heritage and Grizzly Bear Protection Act, which bans trophy hunting and requires federal consultation with tribes before any major federal actions.
The tribes have led the protection of grizzly bears, including in their recent lawsuit to overturn the Fish and Wildlife Service's 2016 attempt to delist grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
We are confident you will continue this leadership and thank you for consideration.
Dear Secretary Jewell,
Greater Yellowstone grizzly bears still need federal protection.
The fate of the Greater Yellowstone grizzly bear is uncertain, and we must act to protect them.
The Yellowstone region's grizzly bear population hasn't grown since the early 2000s, fewer cubs are surviving to adulthood, bears have lost key foods due to climate change, and Yellowstone grizzly bears are completely isolated from other grizzly bears, which threatens their long-term survival.
In Park County, Montana, we are seeing grizzly bears moving down to lower elevations as a result of changing food sources and this is leading to more and more human/bear conflicts, making bears incredibly vulnerable to human caused mortality.
Despite all this, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is preparing to remove Endangered Species Act protections ("delisting") later this year and turn management over to the states, who want to immediately begin sport hunting of grizzly bears.
Now is the time to provide scientific planning and adequate protections for the the future of Greater Yellowstone grizzlies. If the bear loses its protections under the Endangered Species Act, it could take decades to regain federal protections.
Please Secretary Jewell -- stop the delisting!