Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Judge Blocks First Yellowstone-Area Grizzly Hunt in 40 Years

Animals

A federal judge on Thursday halted the first Yellowstone-area grizzly bear trophy hunts in four decades.

Wyoming and Idaho's grizzly hunt was set to begin this Saturday, Sept. 1 and would have allowed a potential kill of 23 bears outside of Yellowstone National Park.


But U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen in Missoula, Montana granted a 14-day restraining order on the hunt, siding with wildlife advocates and Native American tribes who sued U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) after its June 2017 decision to delist grizzly bears in the greater Yellowstone area from protections under the Endangered Species Act.

Christensen wrote that the hunt would cause irreparable harm to the animals "because once a member of an endangered species has been injured, the task of preserving that species becomes all the more difficult."

Earthjustice, an environmental law nonprofit, filed the temporary restraining order on behalf of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity and National Park Conservation Association.

"As we explained to the judge today, the removal of protections for Yellowstone's iconic grizzlies was illegal. The bears should not be killed in a hunting season made possible by an illegal government decision," said Earthjustice attorney Tim Preso in a press release.

As EcoWatch previously reported, more than 200 tribal nations opposed the hunt, saying the bears are sacred to their culture, and want to move the bears to tribal lands.

"It's essential to protecting our religious and spiritual freedoms, and treaty rights in Yellowstone," Stan Grier, chief of the Piikani Nation and president of the Blackfoot Confederacy Chiefs told Reuters. "This sacred being is considered to be a deity by many tribes, not a rug."

The restraining order allows the judge time to decide whether the federal government should reinstate federal protections for the bears.

Grizzlies were given federal protection in 1975, when their numbers dropped to only several hundred, compared to an historic high of 100,000 in the lower 48 states. Thanks to the Endangered Species Act, their numbers today have risen slowly to around 700.

USFWS delisted the bears last year, saying that their numbers have recovered to a point where federal protection is no longer needed.

But scientists say that the iconic animals are not ready for delisting because climate change and other human-caused factors have threatened their food sources.

In May, 58 prominent scientists and experts, including renowned naturalist and primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall, signed a letter asking USFWS to retain federal protections for the bears.

"Their future isn't secure yet because they face so many threats to survival," Goodall said then. "Two of their four major foods have all but been wiped out due to climate change, disease and invasive species. And they may be killed if they prey on livestock in their increasingly difficult search for food."

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Giacomo Berardi / Unsplash

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed both the strengths and limitations of globalization. The crisis has made people aware of how industrialized food production can be, and just how far food can travel to get to the local supermarket. There are many benefits to this system, including low prices for consumers and larger, even global, markets for producers. But there are also costs — to the environment, workers, small farmers and to a region or individual nation's food security.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Joe Leech

The human body comprises around 60% water.

It's commonly recommended that you drink eight 8-ounce (237-mL) glasses of water per day (the 8×8 rule).

Read More Show Less

By Michael Svoboda

The enduring pandemic will make conventional forms of travel difficult if not impossible this summer. As a result, many will consider virtual alternatives for their vacations, including one of the oldest forms of virtual reality – books.

Read More Show Less
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility on Thursday accused NOAA of ignoring its own scientists' findings about the endangerment of the North Atlantic right whale. Lauren Packard / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Julia Conley

As the North Atlantic right whale was placed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's list of critically endangered species Thursday, environmental protection groups accusing the U.S. government of bowing to fishing and fossil fuel industry pressure to downplay the threat and failing to enact common-sense restrictions to protect the animals.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Beth Ann Mayer

Since even moderate-intensity workouts offer a slew of benefits, walking is a good choice for people looking to stay healthy.

Read More Show Less
Much of Eastern Oklahoma, including most of Tulsa, remains an Indian reservation, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday. JustTulsa / CC BY 2.0

Much of Eastern Oklahoma, including most of Tulsa, remains an Indian reservation, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday.

Read More Show Less

Trending

The Firefly Watch project is among the options for aspiring citizen scientists to join. Mike Lewinski / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 2.0

By Tiffany Means

Summer and fall are great seasons to enjoy the outdoors. But if you're already spending extra time outside because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be out of ideas on how to make fresh-air activities feel special. Here are a few suggestions to keep both adults and children entertained and educated in the months ahead, many of which can be done from the comfort of one's home or backyard.

Read More Show Less