Lummis reintroduces bill to delist Greater Yellowstone Grizzly
WASHINGTON, D.C. (PRESS RELEASE) – U.S. Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) introduced the Grizzly Bear State Management Act of 2023 alongside Senators John Barrasso (R-WY), Mike Crapo (R-ID), James Risch (R-ID) and Senator Steve Daines (R-MT). This bill would remove grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem from the Endangered Species List and shift management of the grizzlies to wildlife scientists in the states.
“By all scientific measures, the grizzly bears of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem are fully recovered. Reproductive numbers are stable and the population is at or near its max capacity for the habitat. It’s time to remove the grizzlies in this area from the Endangered Species List and allow wildlife scientists in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho to manage the populations according to science,” said Senator Lummis. “Grizzly bears are an essential part of the ecosystem of Wyoming, but keeping them listed hurts their populations more than it helps them. Wildlife managers that live near the bears and study them closely have a better idea of population parameters than out-of-state activists. It’s time to delist the grizzly in our area and let science dictate our wildlife policy.”
“Wyoming’s good work and sound management have proven to be successful in managing the grizzly bear population in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The science over the years has been extremely clear: grizzly bears no longer need protection under the Endangered Species Act,” said Senator Barrasso. “The last three presidential administrations - both Republican and Democrat - have determined the grizzly is recovered. It is past time Wyoming, not Washington, is in full control of managing the bear.”
“Idaho’s local wildlife managers are best suited to responsibly manage grizzly bear populations while simultaneously addressing the needs of the landscape and local communities,” Senator Crapo said. “The Grizzly Bear State Management Act will restore responsibility to the right level.”
“Grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem have hit all recovery targets due to the hard work of states like Idaho. In fact, all of Idaho’s grizzly bear populations have made substantial recoveries. Increasing populations and human encounters make it abundantly clear grizzlies in our state do not belong on the endangered species list. The Grizzly Bear State Management Act is an important step in delisting grizzlies in part of Idaho, but it is time for full delisting for all grizzlies within the state,” said Senator Risch.
“Montanans know what’s best for our communities, public safety and the ecosystem when it comes to the grizzly bear—it’s time we return wildlife management back to the hands of local leaders. The science is clear: the grizzly bear population has more than recovered in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem Area and it is past time to delist the grizzly bear,” said Senator Daines.
“The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem population of grizzly bear is fully recovered and has been for decades by all scientific measures.” said Wyoming Game and Fish Director Brian Nesvik. “Senator Lummis’ efforts through this legislation reflect our state’s need to find the best path forward to return management of this species to the states and tribes. We look forward to working simultaneously with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as they work towards the next steps in their process to delist”.
“It is time for all to recognize the grizzly bear has already achieved healthy, robust population, has reached overpopulation for its available range and to manage it as such. It is time for the federal government to uphold its end of the agreement made with the people who live and recreate in Park County and delist the grizzly bear, and we feel the passage of this bill will do just that,” said County Commissioners from Park County, Wyoming.
The Wyoming Outfitters and Guides Association (WYOGA) said, “Long overdue is the need to delist the Grizzly Bear, a species whose recovery has been realized for nearly a decade now, yet whose removal from Endangered Species classification has been inappropriately forestalled by activist environmental organizations.”
In 1975, there were 136 grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. In 2022, experts estimated that nearly 1,000 bears were living in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, evidence of an effective conservation effort. The Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team’s analysis suggests that the park is at or near its ecological carrying capacity for grizzly bears.
Read the text of the bill here.
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