Please Protect Yellowstone's Grizzlies!
- by: Lynn B. Price
- recipient: H. Dale Hall, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Grizzly Bears in Yellowstone, and their upcoming proposed delisting as endangered under the ESA (Endangered Species Act) is reproachable. The U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service has announced that it will recommend the Greater Yellowstone Grizzly Bear be removed from the protections of the Endangered Species Act as ealy as THIS year!
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Grizzly Bears in Yellowstone, and their upcoming
proposed delisting as endangered under the ESA (Endangered Species Act) is
reproachable! The U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service has announced
that it will recommend the Greater Yellowstone Grizzly Bear be removed from the
protections of the Endangered Species Act as ealy as THIS year! And, the current administration wants to remove the Yellowstone
grizzlies from the list of species protected by the Endangered Species
Act. Instead of federal law protecting the
Grizzlies, after delisting they will get all the "protection" Wyoming will give
them. That's right - the same state that has declared war on Wolves, sued to
eliminate the Clinton Roadless Rule, and pushed to pollute Yellowstone Park with
unlimited snowmobiles. Not to be outdone, four Wyoming counties that currently
host Grizzlies have passed county ordinances that say BEARS AND WOLVES CAN BE
SHOT ON SIGHT! They can put away that "Welcome" sign for Grizzlies in Wyoming.
Delisting is premature; we need more bears, more
habitat and true habitat protection to do the job right.
Should the delisting move be cheered as a conservation triumph? Or will it spur
a slide back into endangerment? And is there an ulterior motive - to open bear
habitats to the oil, gas, and timber industries? Various wildlife conservation groups are strongly
opposed to delisting. The end of federal protection will leave the Grizzly
vulnerable to habitat loss and persecution outside the sanctuary of Yellowstone
National Park. Once the bears habitat is no longer
protected under the ESA, development, logging, roadbuilding, and new oil and gas
operations will be major threats, the Sierra Club
says. Yellowstones Grizzlies need more than Yellowstone Park; they
also need many of acres of surrounding national forest. This land has already
seen some oil and gas development as well as logging and road-building through
the years, but the big question is what will happen in the future.
The National Resources Defense Council predicts the return
of hunting for Grizzly bears in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. Bears wandering out
of the park will be fair game, the advocacy group
warns. Bear biologist Lance Craighead echoes such fears.
"Wyoming and Idaho especially are not interested in letting bears expand outside
of the recovery zone, but one-third of the Grizzly Bear population already lives
outside it," said Craighead, director of the Craighead Environmental Research
Institute in Bozeman, Montana. "A lot of bears are living
on land outside the recovery zone," Craighead added. "Development there has been
restricted because of the bears status. But once it is off, then the Bush
Administration really has nothing to slow down oil and gas development and
timber harvest in those areas." But
the issue always comes down to habitat. Are we willing to make room for the
Grizzlies, or do we have a plan that asks bears to read imaginary lines on a
map? More than a third of the habitat currently used by Yellowstones Grizzlies
gets not a bit of protection under the governments delisting plan. Please
oppose the delisting of our nations precious, relatively few, Yellowstone