Comment Now to Protect Grizzlies

Comment Now to Protect Grizzlies

Do you want a healthy, fully recovered grizzly bear population in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem?

Do you view the expansion of grizzly bears into the southern reaches of our valley as a positive development and a conservation success we should celebrate?

Do you oppose sport hunting of grizzly bears, especially in Jackson Hole, WY, and believe it is unnecessary for managing a stable bear population?

Are you concerned with the poor process followed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in their delisting proposal to remove Endangered Species Act protections for grizzlies in the Yellowstone Ecosystem?

We are too. That’s why we’ve been working toward a final plan that protects important grizzly bear habitat, addresses human-grizzly conflicts, encourages increased habitat connectivity, and recognizes the economic value of grizzly bears to our community in Jackson.

Without these important safeguards, the USFWS should not move forward with delisting grizzly bears.

We collaborated with our conservation partners to comment on Wyoming Game & Fish Department’s Grizzly management plan and on the earlier USFWS proposal, and encouraged people like you comment as well.

Now, the USFWS has reopened comments on their delisting rule. Why now? Well, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming have made progress toward finalizing state management plans, which would come into effect in a post-delisting world. In response to this, the USFWS has reopened a comment period and needs to hear from people like you.

So, what have learned in the last several months?

We learned that:

The Draft Conservation Strategy, the critical document that will guide management of bears in the ecosystem, is still under debate and is being revised by the grizzly bear Yellowstone Ecosystem Subcommittee. Without an opportunity to see and comment on this document, delisting is premature. The delisting rule should include an opportunity to view the whole package of documents that guide future regulations, including the Conservation Strategy.

Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho are pushing back against the need to manage for a stable, recovered population of 674 bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem – 674 represents the long-term, stable population average. This is a grizzly bear sized problem! While the growth in the population of grizzlies in the ecosystem is a cause of celebration, poor management can easily reverse this success. The Conservation Strategy and State of Wyoming plans should make a firm, enforceable commitment to managing a stable or increasing population of grizzlies.

Without an opportunity for us to comment on the Conservation Strategy and enforceable measures in the Conservation Strategy and State of Wyoming plan to manage for a stable population, the regulatory mechanisms underlying bear management in a post-delisting world come into question. That’s not something we can support!

In Jackson Hole, bears in the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks are a huge draw for our tourists and important for our local economy. We oppose sport hunting of bears and suggest that any hunting be directed away from Parks and surrounding areas.

Finally, the current method of estimating the grizzly bear population (called “Chao2”) may change if new, more accurate methods are developed by scientists. Under that scenario, population targets and mortality quotas must be recalibrated using any new method to reflect the real, underlying biological properties.

So, please comment on these critical issues to ensure that the delisting proposal and any future management of grizzly bears continues to reflect our values.

To comment on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposed management plan, click here to go directly to the comment page. If you have trouble loading the comment page, click here for directions on how to comment.

In addition, make sure to check out Wildneighborhoods.org for information and resources about how you can reduce the chances of a conflict with a bear (and other wildlife) on your property, visit the Bear Wise page on the Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation’s website for more information about avoiding conflicts with bears, and please make sure to carry your bear spray when traveling in bear country.

Phone: (307) 733-9417
685 S. Cache St. PO Box 2728
Jackson, Wyoming 83001