Tribes oppose removal of grizzly bear from endangered list

Grizzly bears in Yellowstone National Park. Photo from National Park Service

Tribes across the nation are opposing the potential removal of the grizzly bear from the protections of the Endangered Species Act.

The Eastern Shoshone Tribe of Wyoming and the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of Idaho have been joined by the leaders and representatives from the Northern Cheyenne Tribe of Montana and the Oglala Sioux Tribe of South Dakota in opposing the delisting. They are worried that removal will lead to state-sanctioned hunts of the animal.

"The drive by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the state of Wyoming to remove the Yellowstone grizzly bear from Endangered Species Act protections to enable Wyoming to manage the grizzly as a 'trophy game animal' and generate tens of thousands of dollars for the state from trophy hunters' license fees amounts to an infringement of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act," the Eastern Shoshone Tribe said in a statement.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, more than 700 grizzly bears live in and around Yellowstone National Park. That's up from 136 in 1975, when the animal was listed as a threatened species.

A group called GOAL (Guardians of Our Ancestors’ Legacy) Tribal Coalition has been informing tribes about the potential delisting and raising awareness in Indian Country.

Get the Story:
Eastern Shoshone Tribe rejects delisting of Grizzly Bear; Claims infringement on its rights (County 10 11/10)
Eastern Shoshone oppose grizzly bear delisting (The Casper Star-Tribune 11/9)
Shoshone-Bannock tribes object to possible grizzly de-listing (Local News 8 11/7)

Join the Conversation