A federal judge in Missoula, Mont., has extended the temporary restraining order in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem grizzly bear hunt – blocking any hunting of the recovered apex predators for up to another two weeks.
On Aug. 31, U.S. District Court Judge Dana Christensen issued a 14-day temporary restraining order halting grizzly bear hunting that was scheduled to begin on Sept. 1 in Idaho and Wyoming.
Today, Judge Christensen extended the order for another 14 days while review of the merits and arguments of the case continues.
“It’s disappointing that animal-rights activists continue to block the scientific management of wildlife with obscure legal technicalities, but we’re confident Judge Christensen will see that 40 years of cooperative management between the states and federal government has recovered the population of Yellowstone-area grizzlies past the point of requiring protections under the Endangered Species Act,” said Evan Heusinkveld, president and CEO of Sportsmen’s Alliance. “There’s absolutely no reason to believe this cooperation won’t continue into the future, and that grizzly bears can be successfully managed like deer, elk and other animals.”
The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem population of grizzly bears has surpassed every threshold for recovery, including exceeding population levels. In the Greater Yellowstone Area, a population of 500 grizzly bears was the threshold that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would use as a standard for successfully recovery. Today, the bear population is conservatively estimated at more than 750 (and as high as 1,000 by some counts), far above that threshold, and well above the low of 125 bears in the 1980s.
“State management is key in ensuring the future of all our wildlife, including grizzlies, elk, mountains lions, deer, wolves and other species,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO, who the Sportsmen’s Alliance has partnered with in the case. “The grizzly population in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem surpassed all delisting criteria and needs to remain under the stewardship of our state wildlife agencies. It is time to recognize that the ESA worked with grizzlies and move forward.”
About the Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Sportsmen’s Alliance protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is responsible for public education, legal defense and research. Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense possible. Stay connected to Sportsmen’s Alliance: Online, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.