Grizzlies to be taken off endangered species list
Author: teddygirl | Wednesday December 28, 2005
Grizzly bears once roamed from the Pacific ocean to the Great Plains. By the 1970s, grizzlies went from 50,000 to under 800. Today, after the Endangered Species Act (ESA), there are 1,200 grizzlies, and 600 of them are in the Yellowstone area.
Grizzlies in the Yellowstone area have been increasing 4 to 7 percent a year for the last 15 years. Only one other population, the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem, has been increasing. Other populations that are not doing well are Selkirk, Cabinet-Yaak, Northern Cascasdes and Selway-Bitterroot.
Now the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS) want to take grizzlies in the Yellowstone area off the threatened species list off the ESA. By removing grizzlies from ESA, wildlife agencies in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming would take control of the bear. State plans allow for the possibility of hunting grizzlies.
In 1993, FWS set goals for grizzlies. The population has to include a minimum of 15 adult females with cubs every year, and mothers with cubs must occupy at least 16 of the 18 federally management units that make up the Yellowstone Primary Conservation Area. A scientist with National Wildlife Federation says these goals have been met.
Wildlife groups are divided on the issue of delisting grizzlies. National Wildlife Federation wants to delist them because it would show that the ESA works. On the other side, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club and other groups think grizzlies should remain on the list because many threats still exist: oil and gas drilling, logging and housing developments.