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Karah Rucker

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U.S.

Montana, Wyoming petition to remove grizzly bears’ endangered status

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Karah Rucker

Anchor/Reporter/Producer

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Grizzly bears are federally protected as long as the species remains on the endangered list. This means that in areas with high populations of grizzlies, like Montana and Wyoming, hunting them is illegal. But within a year, the grizzly bear’s endangered status could change.

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the federal agency in charge of endangered lists, is now reviewing whether or not to remove grizzlies from its list. Doing so would remove the federal protections.

The review comes after Montana and Wyoming filed petitions asking for the bear to be removed. The states are arguing that the population of grizzlies is no longer threatened. They say the bear population will remain protected under state legislation that would set standards on when the bears are allowed to be hunted.

Critics of the petitions say removing the species from the endangered list would encourage hunters to go after big game. That could potentially put grizzlies back at risk of extinction.

The agency is just now entering its review period, which is set to last 12 months.

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KARAH RUCKER: GRIZZLY BEARS ARE FEDERALLY PROTECTED SO LONG AS THE SPECIES REMAINS ON THE ENDANGERED LIST. MEANING IN AREAS WITH HIGHER-POPULATIONS OF GRIZZLIES, LIKE MONTANA AND WYOMING, HUNTING THEM IS ILLEGAL. BUT WITHIN A YEAR, THAT COULD CHANGE.

THE UNITED STATES FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE, THE FEDERAL AGENCY IN CHARGE OF ENDANGERED LISTS,
IS NOW REVIEWING WHETHER OR NOT TO REMOVE GRIZZLIES FROM THEIR LIST WHICH WOULD REMOVE FEDERAL PROTECTIONS WITH IT.

THE REVIEW COMES AFTER MONTANA AND WYOMING FILED PETITIONS ASKING FOR THE BEAR TO BE REMOVED.
THE STATES ARE ARGUING THE POPULATION OF GRIZZLIES IS NO LONGER THREATENED. AND THEY SAY THE BEAR POPULATION WILL REMAIN PROTECTED UNDER STATE LEGISLATION THAT WOULD SET STANDARDS ON WHEN THEY’RE ALLOWED TO BE HUNTED.

BUT CRITICS OF THE PETITIONS SAY REMOVING THE SPECIES FROM THE ENDANGERED LIST WOULD ENCOURAGE HUNTERS TO GO AFTER BIG GAME, POTENTIALLY PUTTING GRIZZLIES BACK AT RISK OF EXTINCTION.

THE FEDERAL AGENCY IS JUST NOW ENTERING IT’S REVIEW PERIOD, WHICH IS SET TO LAST 12 MONTHS.