BOISE – The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that grizzly bears in Yellowstone should be placed back on the Endangered Species List. The court upheld the regulatory process of delisting the bear but found fault with the federal government’s scientific conclusions.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service delisted Yellowstone grizzlies in 2007 because of a rebound in population. That didn’t sit well with the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. The non-profit sued the Service to protect the area’s ecosystem.
“There’s no reason to rush into delisting the grizz we ought to take our time and we ought to do it carefully and wisely,” says Mike Clark, director of the coalition.
The federal appeals court decided that the Service had adequate management systems in place to protect a recovered Yellowstone grizzly population.
Tom France, Regional Executive Director for the National Wildlife Federation, is pleased with this part of the court’s opinion.
“We think grizzly bears in the greater Yellowstone have recovered under the terms of the Endangered Species Act and the state fish and game agencies in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming should reassume management of grizzly bears in that area,” he says.
But the court found fault with the Service’s conclusion that less whitebark pine was not likely to threaten the bear. Whitebark pine seeds are a food source for Yellowstone grizzlies.
The court put the bear back on the Endangered Species List for this shortcoming. France of the National Wildlife Federation says he’ll meet with the Service, and fish and game agencies from Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming to find a way to satisfy the court’s opinion.