By Staff 3-3,2015
Governor Matt Mead is pleased the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is taking steps to remove grizzly bears from the endangered species list in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.
“We have been working for several years with the Secretary of Interior and the Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service one on one, along with our staffs to get to this decision. The proposed rule is to delist grizzly bears. Grizzly bears are recovered and have been for more than a decade. It is a great success story,” said Governor Mead. “I look forward to continued work with the Fish and Wildlife Service, Montana and Idaho as we move to a final rule later this year.”
The grizzly bear was first listed as threatened in 1975, when biologists estimated as few as 136 bears in the Greater Yellowstone Area. Now there are estimated to be more than 700.
“Grizzly bears have exceeded all recovery goals. Delisting the grizzly bear is good for the species, for Wyoming and for the West,” said Governor Mead.
FWS will now accept public comment on the proposed rule and an accompanying conservation strategy and has committed to complete delisting by the end of the summer.
U.S. Senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso and U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis, all R-Wyo., issued these statements following the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposal to remove the grizzly bear in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem from the Endangered Species Act Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and transfer management of the bear to the state of Wyoming.
“I’m glad action is once again being taken to return grizzly bear management back to the states,” Enzi said. “Experts and wildlife officials agree grizzly bears in the Yellowstone region have been recovered for many years, but previous efforts to delist the bear were held hostage by litigation. This is no way to manage wildlife. As grizzly bear populations increase beyond capacity in Wyoming, so does the danger posed to livestock, property and humans. That is why it is so important that we turn over management of the species to state authorities.”
“After repeatedly moving the goal posts for years, the Obama administration is finally moving in the right direction on grizzly bears,” said Barrasso. “Wyoming and other states have worked hard to make sure the grizzly bear is fully recovered. The West – not Washington – is the most effective place to manage grizzly bears.”
“Science has shown that the grizzly bear has been recovered for years and it has become ever more evident as the bears have spread far beyond the intended ranges,” said Lummis. “Grizzly bear management belongs in the hands of the State of Wyoming, where we have the knowledge and expertise necessary to maintain a balanced and healthy grizzly bear population. While it is a good first step for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to propose delisting the grizzly, the service must work promptly to collect and incorporate more input from Wyoming and its citizens on the new proposal and complete this rule in a timely manner. Wyoming has put in years of hard work and waited long enough for responsible state stewardship of the grizzly bear to be restored.”