Push to Remove Grizzly Bears from List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife Moves Forward
Governor Gordon's office recently announced that the Governor's plans to 'restore management to grizzly bears' have passed its latest hurdle.
That's according to a release from the Governor's office, which stated that in January of 2022 Governor Mark Gordon petitioned that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service delist the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) grizzly bear population.
"Today, the Service has completed its initial review of that petition and found that the grizzly bear in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem may warrant removal from the list of endangered and threatened wildlife," the release stated. "The Service will now initiate a 12-month status review of the GYE grizzly bear. If the removal of the GYE grizzly bear is warranted, management authority will be given to the State of Wyoming."
The release stated that Wyoming has a grizzly bear management plan in place, but that it will be amended to recognize the various legal requirements needed to satisfy the Endangered Species Act (EPA) requirements for post-delisting management.
“This is a positive step and I thank the Service. Wyoming’s petition, filed early last year, shows that – after 46 years, and over $52 million dollars of investment by Wyoming sportsmen and women – the population of the bear is far above long-established recovery goals,” Governor Gordon said. “In addition, Wyoming has an established framework to provide adequate protection and management of the bear in the future. I trust the FWS will continue to use the best scientific evidence, and I hope that Wyoming will soon manage this species as part of our treasured wildlife populations."
Governor Gordon stated that he and Game and Fish Director Brian Nesvik will discuss the timeline an next steps with the Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as Department of Interior officials in the upcoming days.
“Game and Fish stands ready to manage this population with robust public involvement and the best science at a moment's notice,” Nesvik said. “Game and Fish has a strong track record of managing grizzly bears during the times they have been delisted in the past,”
The release stated that there is an expanding number of grizzly bears that have grown beyond the edges of the grizzly's biological and socially suitable range.
"With refined population estimates, data shows the population numbers more than 1,000 bears, far beyond all scientific requirements for a recovered, viable population," the release said.