Wyoming disappoints by grizzly bear protections

State congressman applauds vote to remove federal protections for wolves	 	 	 			A single park-captive gray wolf perks up when he hears something

State congressman applauds vote to remove federal protections for wolves A single park-captive gray wolf perks up when he hears something

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokeswoman Jennifer Strickland said the agency was reviewing Monday's ruling but stood behind its decision to lift protections.

The outcome caps one of the most high-profile legal battles over the Endangered Species Act in many years, rivaling previous disputes surrounding the gray wolf and northern spotted owl.

A judge in Montana on Monday blocked hunts planned in Wyoming and Idaho and put Yellowstone-area grizzlies back on the threatened species list.

Grizzlies, which are slow to reproduce, number fewer than 2,000 bears across the Lower 48. And their habitat will be protected until they're recovered. The policy implications of the Greater Yellowstone grizzly delisting are significant, but they can not affect the Court's disposition.

Supporters of the hunt, including the National Rifle Association and some ranching groups, argued that it was necessary to control the grizzly population and might remove "problem" bears.

The Fish and Wildlife Service concluded past year it had addressed that and all other threats and said the grizzlies were no longer a threatened species requiring restrictive federal protections for them and their habitat.

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A judge has reinstated federal protections for grizzly bears in two states - just in time to save them from a planned bear hunt. The season had been set to begin on September 1.

The ruling marks a victory for wildlife advocates and Native American tribes that sued when the Interior Department past year revoked federal protections for more than 700 grizzly bears living in and around Yellowstone National Park.

The lawsuit was filed by conservation groups including the Sierra CLub and the Center for BIological Diversity, and Native American groups, including the Crow Indian Tribe.

Judge Dana Christensen, who sits on a district court in Montana, "had done a huge amount of homework, as was evident by the questions he asked when we presented our case, and, because of that, we were hopeful", Preso said. Agitation for state management of the bears also came from hunters, who highly prize them as trophy animals.

"Although this Order may have impacts throughout grizzly country and beyond, this case is not about the ethics of hunting, and it is not about solving human- or livestock-grizzly conflicts as a practical or philosophical matter", Christensen wrote in his ruling. Instead, it turned strictly on his determination that the Fish and Wildlife Service had exceeded its authority. "Now, not only do the Yellowstone region's bears have a fighting chance, so too do grizzlies across the lower 48", Bethany Cotton, wildlife program director for WildEarth Guardians, said in a press release. "Today we celebrate this victory and will continue to advocate on behalf of the Yellowstone grizzly bears until the population is recovered, including within the Tribe's ancestral homeland in Montana and other states".

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