Why Hunting of Yellowstone Grizzly Bears Could Resume


The successful recovery of the grizzly bears in Yellowstone National Park under the Endangered Species Act has caused some grizzly advocates[???] to call for delisting the species, and to allow hunting to resume.

Grizzly bears in Yellowstone National Park area saw unprecedented growth this year after being granted protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1975, causing many hunting enthusiasts to call for the population’s delisting.

A study published in the journal Molecular Ecology last week found “independent demographic evidence for Yellowstone grizzly bear population growth since the 1980s.” The scientists studied 729 bears and found that genetic diversity in the population was stable and the effective population, also known as “the number of bears passing genes to the next generation,” had quadrupled.

Some say the grizzly population has grown too much, reaching the resource capacity for the Yellowstone National Park area in Wyoming and Montana.

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“Grizzly bears are moving into areas outside the recovery zone,” Frank von Manen, a wildlife biologist and leader of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team, told The Associated Press. “They are getting into more and more of those areas where the potential for conflicts are greater.”

Wildlife managers in the Yellowstone region have euthanized 24 grizzlies so far this year. Low availability of natural food sources, such as whitebark pine cone production, has caused Yellowstone grizzlies to hunt local livestock and other human food sources.

“They’re bumping up against the social human tolerance of where they can be,” Kerry Gunther, Yellowstone National Park’s bear management program leader, told The Associated Press.

In light of the corresponding population and euthanasia increases, the Obama administration is expected to announce its support for Yellowstone grizzlies’ removal from the ESA, after the Yellowstone Ecosystem and Interagency Grizzly Bear Study team first recommended species removal in 2013.

But Harmony Kristin Szarek, a graduate student at Ohio State University, interviewed a majority of prominent grizzly bear scientists and found that 60 percent of experts “believe delisting would be an incorrect decision, or at the very least a violation of the precautionary principle.”

Some delisting advocates, such as Daniel Thompson, a large carnivore specialist for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, says grizzly bear delisting does not have to be an open endorsement for unregulated hunting.

“The discussion has switched more to hunting in the future and that clouds the issue of the notable recovery of an animal,” Thompson told The Missoulian. “That was the goal of (the ESA). This should be a very positive story, but there’s a lot of arguing in the background. And it ignores the sacrifices of the people on the ground who live in grizzly bear country.”

Some environmental protection organizations agree with Thompson. The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) says species are intended to recover under the ESA, “so long as adequate plans exist to assure recovery continues.” The NWF suggests a comprehensive conservation package for the Yellowstone grizzlies, including a six million acre Primary Conservation Area where the needs of grizzlies come first and extensive monitoring, which could give the species improved protection and free up funding and resources for other endangered animals.

But opponents of grizzly hunting say there is no reason to rush delisting, because local bears are worth more to the state alive than dead. In the 20 million acres of the greater Yellowstone area, nature-related tourism is a $1 billion industry. And without the potential of seeing a roadside bear, a 2014 study reported that Yellowstone National Park would lose about $10 million annually.

This article was written by Story Hinckley Staff from Christian Science Monitor and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.



9 thoughts on “Why Hunting of Yellowstone Grizzly Bears Could Resume

  1. What a thoroughly unbalanced article, quoting all the special interests and those who are interested in reopening hunting (killing) of the grizzlies. To clarify what you point out in one paragraph – scientists whose views arent paid for believe that the population of bears has been static for the last decade and is not growing at all. The bears need protection. Not hunting, which is the declared end result of the delisting.

  2. Phrase do not de enlist grizzle bears from endangered species list.
    You will hear hunting enthusiasts that the bears are so prolific there’s no danger to them anymore.
    Of course hunters do not care about wildlife unless they care about having enough to kill.
    We need to stop killing our wildlife.
    Please keep grizzle bears in endangered species list.

  3. More correctly, people are bumping against the grizzly tolerance for humanity. As of 2014, there were 318.9 million people in the United States. There are approximately 1800 grizzly bears in the lower 48. That is 176,666.667 people per bear. We should be turning the bears loose on the human intruders, not the other way around.

  4. No wonder that those in charge of the Grizzly recovery program for the Greater Yellowstone area are in favor of delisting because that milestone ratifies the success of their program. Their support for delisting is gratuitous and illusory. And our beloved Grizzlies are the pawns in this game of career validation and recognition.

  5. It’s not the fricken animals who need management! What about the damn human population????? When are we going to put a cork in it? Because hunting is such a multi-billion dollar industry I believe that animals are used as scapegoats just so these psychos can continue their pleasure of taking lives–that’s all it is because there is a supply and demand. Why must we always resort to violence?!?! When will we learn to co-exist?!?!

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