October 9th, 2013 by Anja Heister
Deadline: Friday, October 11 at 5 p.m.
Comments accepted from U.S. citizens only.
The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) is currently revising its management plan for grizzly bears in Southwest Montana, and it is crucial that you speak up for them.
Public protection of Grizzly bears is their only chance for survival in a state like Montana, where livestock, ranching and hunters’ interests dominate politics. Wildlife is treasured by the public, but FWP has already declared grizzlies to be a “big game” species, and, as such, some bears will have to die to keep these special interest groups happy.
“Sport” hunting of grizzly bears should not be a goal of FWP!
Please tell Montana’s wildlife managers that wildlife watchers, who have already far outspent and outpaced wildlife killing interests, value these bears alive, not dead. Grizzlies are slow reproducing and they are extremely vulnerable to human-caused mortalities. They need vast and suitable habitat and connecting corridors need to be in place for them to survive. Non-lethal management methods need to be employed to achieve compatible existence between humans and Grizzly bears.
Please follow these steps to send your comment to FWP:
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2. Copy and paste the below comments into the comment section.
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4. When finished, hit the white submit button.
Dear FWP Director Hagener,
Grizzly bears are an important part of Montana’s wildlife heritage, and an integral species for the state’s ecosystem. I am very concerned that your agency’s draft plan for managing bears after they lose ESA protection is inadequate to sufficiently protect this extremely sensitive species. Please consider the following changes and improvements:
I ask that you cancel your plan for sport hunting of grizzly bears in the Yellowstone National Park region. As the 2011 USFWS survey has shown, wildlife watchers have already well outpaced and outspent wildlife killing interests. Wildlife watchers are a growing economic force, and their overwhelming preference of seeing these animals alive needs to be considered.
There is no data to show that killing grizzlies improves the public’s acceptance of this species, and no reason for your department to declare hunting of grizzlies as a management goal. Education focusing on how humans can coexist with grizzlies, including the education of ranchers on better husbandry practices, is a far more effective strategy.
Please make this education a goal, and also state clearly in your plan how you will ensure suitable and functional habitat connectivity essential for bear recovery and survival. I am in full support of the preferred alternative’s stated goal of reducing conflict proactively with non-lethal methods. I ask though, that you commit to and state clearly which steps you will take with regard to food storage rules, hunter education, bear spray requirements, and community garbage management.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment