The court-ordered two-week extension of a temporary restraining order against Wyoming and Idaho’s proposed Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem grizzly bear hunts is a hopeful step forward, yet the fate of these bears remains unresolved.
2018 is set to be a record-setting year for grizzly deaths. More Yellowstone and Grand Teton bears are dying each year due in large part to the decrease in grizzlies’ traditional food sources, such as whitebark pine. Bears are forced to rely on foods that put them in danger of conflict with humans, such as gut piles left in the field. And conflicts with humans all too often leads to dead bears.
Exacerbating the record-setting mortalities is the proposed hunt of 23 bears in Idaho and Wyoming, on lands near Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks — the first in decades. Rather than continuing to move forward with the flawed removal of Endangered Species Act protections, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service should address this emerging threat and go back to the drawing board.
The National Parks Conservation Association urges the agency to work with the Park Service, Montana, Idaho and Wyoming to develop a plan that truly ensures the long-term health of this population.