A grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park. Photo: Scott Taylor
Environment | Law | National | Politics

Protections for Yellowstone grizzly bears lifted as tribes seek day in court





It's official -- as of Monday, grizzly bears in and around Yellowstone National Park are no longer protected under federal law.

The Trump administration removed protections for the bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) over the objections of tribes with spiritual, legal and historical connections to the revered animal. At least four tribes in the U.S., along with tribal citizens and religious leaders, are now fighting the decision in court.

"The spiritual health of both the tribal and individual plaintiffs depends upon the health and protection of the GYE grizzly bear," a complaint filed in late June stated, Courthouse News reported.

The plaintiffs in the complaint include the Crow Tribe, the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. The Northern Cheyenne Tribe is part of a separate legal challenge.

On June 22, Secretary Ryan Zinke, the leader of the Department of the Interior, announced the removal of the bear from the protections of the Endangered Species Act. A notice of the decision was published in the Federal Register on June 30. It became effective on July 31.

Read More on the Story:
Yellowstone grizzlies removed from threatened species list (AP 7/31)
States Take Over Control Of Greater Yellowstone Grizzlies (Montana Public Radio 7/31)

Federal Register Notice:
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removing the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem Population of Grizzly Bears From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife (June 30, 2017)

Relevant Documents:
Press Release: Secretary Zinke Announces Recovery and Delisting of Yellowstone Grizzly Bear
Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem Final Rule to Federal Register

Related Stories:
Northern Cheyenne Tribe challenges Trump administration on grizzly bears (June 30, 2017)
States cheer decision on grizzly bears amid tribal concerns about hunts (June 23, 2017)
Secretary Zinke removes protections for grizzlies over tribal objections (June 22, 2017)