CHEYENNE, Wyo. (KGWN) - U.S. District Court Judge Dana Christensen issued a temporary restraining order on grizzly bear hunts Thursday.
The hunt was going to be the first since grizzlies were protected under the Endangered Species Act in 1975.
Last August the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service removed grizzlies from the list citing a “remarkable recovery” in population and passed species management on to state wildlife agencies rather than federal.
In May of this year, after study and consideration, Wyoming officials authorized grizzly hunts allowing a limited number of licenses and a cap on how many bears could be killed.
Judge Christensen says the restraining order will prevent irreparable damage to the species, but several Wyoming officials expressed disappointment in the decision.
“It is unfortunate that activist litigation has once again delayed the process of allowing states to properly manage their own wildlife,” said U.S. Senator Mike Enzi.
“I’m disappointed a federal judge intervened in this way,” said Treasurer and candidate for governor Mark Gordon. “As a lifelong sportsman and rancher, I support the conservative policy put into place by Wyoming Game and Fish Commissioners earlier this year that struck an appropriate balance in addressing the concerns, and meeting the needs, of our ranching and conservation communities.”
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department says the department will now await further information about whether the bears will remain under state management or if they go back to federal management.
The restraining order lasts 14 days and will delay the start of the hunt which was set for Sept. 1.