New Information on 2017 Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Deaths Should Nix Trophy Hunting in Core Habitat

Wyoming officials are barging ahead with a September hunt of Yellowstone grizzly bears despite new information about bear deaths that shows that no hunting should occur this year. This according to protocols adopted by the states of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho when 2017 federal endangered species protections were removed (“delisting”). The considerable confusion among state and federal officials about how the 2017 death of a radio-collared female and two cubs of the year will be treated and, from that, implications for how many bears can be hunted, additionally highlights how opaque, disjointed, and risky bear management has become less than one year following delisting.

In a June 12 conversation, summarized below, Dan Thompson, large carnivore specialist with Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGF), emphasized the extent to which the state is recklessly bent on reducing bear numbers now that grizzlies are delisted, regardless of protocols or data. In short, Wyoming has adopted anything but a precautionary approach, and, moreover, threatens grizzly bears in this ecosystem with a management ideology hostile to carnivores and slaved to the interests of trophy hunters.

The explicit goal of WGF is, in fact, to reduce the size of the grizzly bear population within core habitat and even extirpate bears from certain areas. Even more egregiously, their adopted method for managing mortality deliberately kills male bears at a grossly unsustainable rate. At every turn,…

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