Yellowstone National Park's iconic grizzly bears are one step closer to losing protection under the Endangered Species Act, despite differing opinions about how well their population is actually doing.
At issue now are their numbers and how the loss of whitebark pine will affect their future. Whitebark pine trees provide a critical food source for grizzlies in the fall before they hibernate. Unfortunately, the trees are being destroyed by blister rust and invasive mountain pine beetles who have been moving higher into forests as a result of warmer winters. Losing a major food source in their habitat is expected to lead them to roam, which will undoubtedly lead to more conflicts with humans.
According to the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team there are 629 bears, but it recently updated the number to 741 using a new population model that's being called into question and conflicts with studies that question the FWS' accuracy, offering evidence its numbers are inflated due to data-collection biases and inaccuracies and indicating that their population has actually been declining over the past few years.
In addition to the loss of a major food source, they also continue to face threats from genetic isolation and conflicts with humans. Turning management over to states that have already proven to be hostile to carnivores that will allow them to be hunted again will only hurt their chance for survival even more.
Please sign the petition asking the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service not to strip Endangered Species Act protection from grizzlies.
As someone who is concerned with wildlife and the future survival of Yellowstone National Park's iconic grizzly bears, I am writing to urge you to support keeping them protected under the Endangered Species Act.
Grizzly bears may be a success story, but this is only the beginning and like wolves it's too soon to delist them. Stripping ESA protection at a this time is an especially poor move considering that no one is certain how the loss of whitebark pine trees will affect their survival. Additionally, they continue to face threats from a lack of genetic diversity and conflicts with humans and livestock that have resulted hundreds of them being killed.
Devaluing grizzlies by allowing hunters to kill them for whatever reason they conjure up will almost certainly have dire consequences on their future survival. We've already seen how state management that is hostile to carnivores has failed wildlife.
I sincerely hope you will support keeping federal protection for Yellowstone's grizzlies.
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