2016-05-04

Don’t Delist the Grizzly!

grizz photo

I’m all fired up about this current proposal to remove Yellowstone-area Grizzly bears from the endangered species list. Removing them from the list would allow for a hunting season—exposing these magnificent, sentient beings to trophy hunters—it’s beyond my comprehension. Prominent biologists have made it perfectly clear that the Yellowstone Grizzly population is still at significant risk due to climate change. As history has proven with wolves and other keystone predators, handing over management to Idaho, Wyoming and Montana is a very bad idea. Just look at this billboard that recently went up in Cody, Wyoming. This is the kind of mentality we’d be exposing the bears to. For sure, Grizzly bears can be dangerous. I live near and hike in grizzly country and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I revere their presence and find it humbling to live in an area where we are not the top predator. With a little bit of mindfulness and planning, we can co-exist with Grizzly bears and other predators. If you have any feelings at all about this, please speak up now. These bears need our voice. Here’s what you can do…

1. Submit your comment to the USFWS and let them know that you oppose delisting. Comment period ends May 10th. Here are some suggested talking points I’ve gathered from The Center for Biological Diversity, and Heart of the Wild Yellowstone.

— Prominent biologists have made it clear that the Yellowstone-area Grizzlies are still at significant risk due to climate change and other human caused pressures. Grizzlies are losing 3 out of 4 important food sources (whitebark pine cones, Yellowstone cutthroat trout, and winter-killed ungulate) Grizzly bears occupy less than 5% of their historic range in the western lower 48 states.

— Idaho, Wyoming and Montana have a track record for setting objective population goals for the minimum target, which has led to the slaughter of thousands of wolves in the northern Rockies. Trophy hunting of the grizzly is not sound management of the species. There should be a three to five year moratorium on even considering hunting as a management tool.

— The majority of citizens support protections of these animals. A recent poll by Wyoming Wildlife Advocates and Humane Society of the United States found that 55% of Americans oppose delisting, while just 26% support it.

— The Yellowstone area population gene pool is too small and is disconnected from populations to the north. There are no plans to provide opportunities for the grizzlies to reach other bear populations to allow for biological diversity and dispersing individuals are subject to persecution, making connectivity all that much less likely.

2. Sign petitions, here, here and here

 3. Read this well-crafted letter, written by Doug Peacock and signed by many prominent biologists including Jane Goodall. Write to President Obama expressing your support for this letter.

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