Yellowstone Grizzlies Temporarily Escape Trophy Hunt
We are pleased to be able to update you on the status of attempts to allow the hunting of Yellowstone’s grizzly bears. We recently asked for your help to stop scheduled grizzly hunts in Idaho and Wyoming. In Wyoming, there was a new plan proposed that would allow Yellowstone grizzly bears to be hunted outside of the national park boundaries. Unfortunately, while a controlled hunting season was approved in eastern Idaho, news for Yellowstone grizzlies in Wyoming is better.
On Thursday, Aug 30, The Center for Biological Diversity filed an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order to stop the bear hunt which was planned to start on Sept 1.
U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christenson granted a temporary restraining order to stop plans for grizzly bear hunts in Wyoming while the Center’s case moved forward. Judge Christenson stated, “The threat of death to individual grizzly bears posed by the scheduled hunt is sufficient,” and temporarily paused the hunt for 14 days.
As we shared in our previous alert, grizzly bears were listed as an endangered species in 1975, and these new plans to hunt them are based on the Trump Administration’s decision to remove grizzlies from the Endangered Species List in June 2017. With this removal, Endangered Species Act protections to help care for their populations and habitats were taken from Yellowstone’s grizzlies, leaving their fate in the hands of the state as it debated whether to allow bear hunts.
This temporary restraining order protected nearly 700 grizzly bears who reside within Yellowstone National Park. Due to drought and increased development, grizzlies face food scarcity, forcing them to venture outside of the Park’s boundaries, where, under this newest plan, they could be callously hunted down and murdered by individuals in desperate need of a “trophy” to validate their selfish hobby choice.
This new plan would also force Yellowstone grizzlies into reproductive isolation. To propagate their species, grizzlies would have no choice but to breed with other bears who escape death within the protected Yellowstone National Park boundaries, a circumstance which could potentially lead to restricted gene flow between other grizzly populations from different locations. Reproductive isolation does not lead to conservation of a species. In fact, it may lead to allopatric speciation, i.e., the formation of a new species due to geographical isolation, in the long run. Grizzlies must have the freedom to roam freely and safely to ensure the survival of their species.
We would like to thank The Center for Biological Diversity for filing this emergency motion and all of our supporters for writing letters and sharing our previous alert. We must continue to speak up until the court rules in favor of permanently protecting grizzly bears from being killed by people for “sport.”