A federal judge in Montana signed an order Monday requiring the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to review the status of grizzly bears by March 2021.
The order was made as part of a case the Center for Biological Diversity and other environmental groups have brought following a 2017 federal government decision to take grizzly bears off the endangered species list.
Judge Dana Christensen in Missoula, Mont., reversed that decision in the fall of 2018 and put Yellowstone grizzlies back under the Endangered Species Act.
The reversal was disheartening to Wyoming Game and Fish and the state government, which said the grizzly population has rebounded enough to be sustainable in the Yellowstone ecosystem.
Early in the year Wyoming’s Washington delegation pushed forward a bill to reinstate local management of the bears.
“It’s clear that under the Endangered Species Act, grizzly bears in the Yellowstone region are fully recovered, that they should be delisted and management returned to the states,” Enzi said. “I have been working on this issue for over 20 years, and we already knew back then that grizzly bears had already fully recovered. Unfortunately, we have seen environmental groups take advantage of the court system in the face of wildlife management experts and the science presented before us.”
Andrea Santarserie with the Center for Biological Diversity said the judge’s decision is a step that could prompt the agency to look at a broader plan for recovering bears in the lower 48 states.
“Grizzlies in the lower 48 still face an uphill battle to recovery,” she said. “I really hope this review will convince the Fish and Wildlife Service to revisit the idea of reintroducing grizzly bears in more areas of their historic range, as the agency proposed in its last status review.”
Grizzly bears in the lower 48 states were initially listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1975.
Read the original article by Zac Taylor at codyenterprise.com here.