Tribes slam decision to remove protections for Yellowstone bears

A grizzly bear at Yellowstone National Park. Photo by Terry Tollefsbol / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Grizzly bears in and near Yellowstone National Park will lose Endangered Species Act protections under a decision announced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Thursday.

According to the agency, the grizzy bear population has grown from as few as 136 bears in 1975 to an about 700 or more today. But tribal leaders oppose delisting out of fear it will lead to hunting of the sacred and powerful animal.

"Tribes have endured two centuries of deception and deceit when dealing with the US government, and this announcement of a rule that will provide rich wasicus with the legal authority to trophy hunt our sacred relative, the grizzly bear, is a continuation of that pattern," Vice President Tom Poor Bear of the Oglala Sioux Tribe said on the website of the GOAL (Guardians of Our Ancestors' Legacy) Tribal Coalition.

A notice of the decision will be published in the Federal Register and will be open to public comments. FWS Director Dan Ashe promised to consult with tribes but they say prior efforts have been woefully inadequate.

Get the Story:
U.S. seeks to end protections of Yellowstone-area grizzlies, allowing state hunts (AP 3/4)

US Fish and Wildlife Service Documents:
Press Release | Proposed Rule | FAQ

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