(Jackson, Wyo.) - Earlier this week, a letter from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) was leaked
that indicated the organization is
considering a proposal to take the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE)
grizzly off of the endangered species list.
Serena Baker, Public Affairs Specialist for the USFWS, confirmed that the
organization is considering a delisting proposal.
"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been considering delisting the
Yellowstone grizzly bear population since it was initially delisted in
2007, so this is an ongoing process," said Baker. "We believe that the
Yellowstone grizzly bear population is biologically recovered and are
considering whether to move forward with a delisting proposal. We continue
to work with states, tribes and other partners to ensure that a robust
conservation plan is in place to maintain a recovered grizzly bear
population in the absence of Endangered Species Act protections."
According to Baker, any proposed delisting would include opportunities for
public review and comment prior to a final decision.
"We will only delist this population if we have a very high level of
confidence that the population will remain recovered and never again need
ESA protections," she added.
Baker explained that recovery is based on more than just the number of
bears, but on a combination of factors including quantity and quality of
habitat, adequate regulatory mechanisms, and a good balance of male and
female bears that are well-distributed throughout the ecosystem.
"The goal would be to manage for approximately 674 grizzly bears to ensure
a sustainable and resilient population that utilizes the entire available
habitat in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem," Baker said.
If the USFWS does decide to move forward with a proposal to delist the GYE
grizzly, then the agency will publish a proposed rule in the *Federal
Register*, and give Federal agencies, State biologists, and the public time
to review and comment.
More information on the process to take a species off of the endangered
list is available here
*Feature Photo: A Grizzly h/t Jackie Skaggs, GTNP / Pitchengine Communities*
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