With a population now more than 700 strong, Yellowstone grizzly bears are thriving, resulting in a monumental decision that was announced yesterday. After 42 years of federal protections under the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) will delist the Yellowstone grizzly bears and transfer management into state and tribal hands.
“As a kid who grew up in Montana, I can tell you that this is a long time coming and very good news for many communities and advocates in the Yellowstone region,” says U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke in a statement. “This achievement stands as one of America’s great conservation successes; the culmination of decades of hard work and dedication on the part of the state, tribal, federal and private partners. As a Montanan, I’m proud of what we’ve achieved together.”
Grizzly bears were added to the Endangered Species List in 1975 with a population of roughly 136. With the current population estimated to be around 700, the bears met the criteria necessary to be removed from the list.
As GOHUNT has previously reported, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana will regain management of grizzly bears and were required by FWS to draft grizzly bear management plans prior to this decision. Grizzly bears that roam beyond park boundaries will fall into state jurisdiction and will be legal to hunt once each state determines a season and regulations. This decision does not affect grizzly bears outside of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem; bears outside of this area will remain protected, according to CNN.
Following yesterday’s announcement, FWS says that the “rule to remove the grizzly from the endangered list will be published ‘in coming days’ and ‘will take effect 30 days after publication,’” NPR reports.