Yellowstone Grizzly Bears to Lose Endangered Species Protection, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Confirms
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) reaffirmed its June 2017 decision to designate grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) as a separate population and remove that population from protections under the Endangered Species Act, the FWS announced in the Federal Register Friday.
When the FWS announced the June 22 decision, they pointed to the fact that the population of grizzly bears in the area in and around Yellowstone National Park had grown from 136 in 1975, when the species was first listed, to 700 today.
But conservation groups like the Center for Biological Diversity are concerned that the decision will isolate the GYE bears genetically and render them vulnerable to human-caused mortality and the impacts of climate change.
In August 2017, they joined tribal and other conservation groups in suing the federal government to restore protections for the bears.
Friday's decision is the result of a review launched Dec. 6 to assess the impact of a D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling on the proposed delisting of GYE grizzly bears.
The court's Aug. 1 decision overturned a FWS delisting of gray wolves in the Western Great Lakes area, finding that the FWS had failed to take into account how delisting one segment of the species would impact both the remaining protected gray wolf populations and the historical range of the gray wolf overall. Following this ruling, the FWS assessed the impact of delisting GYE grizzly bears on other protected bears in the lower 48 states and on the grizzlies' historical range. Friday, the FWS concluded that the June decision was sound and noted that the rest of the grizzly bear population in the lower 48 states would remain protected.
Andrea Santarsiere of the Center for Biological Diversity disagreed. "They still occupy less than five percent of their historical range. That's just not recovery," she told The Associated Press.
Following June's decision, the three states in the GYE—Wyoming, Idaho and Montana—have proposed allowing hunts for grizzlies, the Associated Press reported. In Wyoming, hunters would be allowed to kill 10 males and two females starting this fall; in Idaho, kills would be limited to one male and no females. Neither state has made a final decision about the hunts.
"I have two concerns over the issue of delisting of the grizzly bear: the future of the bear itself, and making sure the public understands and participates in decisions about how the bear will be managed if delisting occurs," Nagel said in a Center for Biological Diversity press release.According to the FWS, in the early 1800s, 50,000 grizzly bears lived between the Pacific Ocean and the Great Plains. Today, only 1,400 to 1,700 remain in five areas, including Yellowstone.
Battle Begins to Restore Protections for Greater Yellowstone Grizzly Bears https://t.co/X8DQxHLNQ6 @greenpeaceusa @Sierra_Magazine— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1504645511.0
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By Brett Wilkins
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the meatpacking industry worked together to downplay and disregard risks to worker health during the Covid-19 pandemic, as shown in documents published Monday by Public Citizen and American Oversight.
<div id="13077" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="11b9fe5ff48ebc437353df6df9c2c892"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1305915938148147205" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Just a week before the Trump administration issued an executive order aimed at keeping meat packing plants open, th… https://t.co/DkbXgPm4YR</div> — ProPublica (@ProPublica)<a href="https://twitter.com/propublica/statuses/1305915938148147205">1600189597.0</a></blockquote></div>
<div id="36e4c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e7c8048c2755109629a3b3072fcb3261"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1304424041814593539" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Meatpacking union @UFCW, which reps workers at this plant (four of whom died), slams OSHA for the small $13k fine a… https://t.co/tnhfKd89ab</div> — Dave Jamieson (@Dave Jamieson)<a href="https://twitter.com/jamieson/statuses/1304424041814593539">1599833901.0</a></blockquote></div><p>The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, which represents Smithfield Foods workers, <a href="https://www.argusleader.com/story/news/crime/2020/09/10/osha-fines-smithfield-foods-sioux-falls-south-dakota/5768786002/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=f7bf3f03-ce98-4df4-9c45-f44d9a6a5890" target="_blank">slammed</a> the fine as "insulting and a slap on the wrist."</p><p>"How much is the health, safety, and life of an essential worker worth? Based on the actions of the Trump administration, clearly not much," said UFCW president Marc Perrone.</p><p>"This so-called 'fine' is a slap on the wrist for Smithfield, and a slap in the face of the thousands of American meatpacking workers who have been putting their lives on the line to help feed America since the beginning of this pandemic," Perrone added. </p><p>Other critics, including vegans, vegetarians, and animal rights and environmental advocates argued that the accelerated spread of Covid-19 from meatpacking facilities is but the latest compelling argument in favor of reducing—or eliminating—meat consumption.</p><p>"We know that Covid-19 originated in a meat market and that previous influenza viruses originated in pigs and chickens," People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) <a href="https://www.peta.org/blog/meat-shortage-slaugherhouses-go-vegan/" target="_blank">said</a> in April amid news that a Foster Farms slaughterhouse in Livingston, California was <a href="https://www.peta.org/blog/coronavirus-covid-19-slaughterhouse-meat-concerns/?utm_source=PETA::Twitter&utm_medium=Social&utm_campaign=0420::veg::PETA::Twitter::Workers%20Blame%20Major%20Pig%20Slaughterhouse%20600%20Infected%20COVID-19::::tweet" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">ordered closed</a> by local health authorities due to a Covid-19 outbreak that killed eight employees.</p>
<div id="28490" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="48ddd3480a2beb42597d9516ef652f0f"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1252416495990140929" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS! @SmithfieldFoods allegedly took NO PRECAUTIONS to protect the safety of its workers, leaving o… https://t.co/viAJ026pLy</div> — PETA (@PETA)<a href="https://twitter.com/peta/statuses/1252416495990140929">1587434336.0</a></blockquote></div><p>"It's not a matter of <em>whether</em> using and killing animals for food will give rise to another disease outbreak—it's a matter of <em>when</em>," said PETA. "There has never been a better, more obvious time for businesses to put an end to their dirty trade of slaughtering animals for their flesh." </p>
By Andrea Willige
More than half of the world's population lives in cities, and most future population growth is predicted to happen in urban areas. But the concentration of large numbers of people and the ecosystems built around their lives has also been a driver of climate change.