(EnviroNews World News) — PETITION WATCH: On March 3, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) made an announcement that left many wildlife and nature enthusiasts stunned: the Service rolled out a proposal to remove the iconic Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) grizzly bear from the Endangered Species Act (ESA) entirely, and turn over management of the species to three conservative western states.
With the bear would also go the ESA protections that safeguard it, and following that, sport hunting is nearly certain to follow. In fact, USFWS is suggesting as part of its proposal, that around 200 of the bears should be killed. Those bears would likely be eliminated through sanctioned hunts in Idaho, Wyoming and Montana — the three states harboring the distinct population — and states all legendary for their big predator hunts.
The number of grizzlies in the region now hovers around 715 — a number the Service says has remained “stable” for over a decade. But while USFWS points to a “stable population” as its justification to delist the bears, biologists and wildlife advocacy groups do not agree and say without federal safeguards, the bear’s future is uncertain.
Some grizzly experts also fear future problems from lack of genetic diversity in the GYE population, and say it needs to be adjoined with other neighboring grizzly populations if the species is to thrive — a task they say would be nearly impossible to achieve without the current federal protections.
A petition on Change.org has been circulating wildly online having accrued nearly 90,000 signatures as of March 27, 2016. The appeal will be delivered to President Barack Obama and USFWS Director Dan Ashe, and aims to stop the Service from delisting the Yellowstone grizzly altogether. Readers may view the petition by clicking the embedded page below.
A 60-day public comment period is also open wherein USFWS is encouraging experts, scientists, and the public-at-large to weigh in on the matter. Readers may learn more and link to those comments below, through an excellent long-read on the Yellowstone grizzly saga by EnviroNews Wyoming.
Lastly, a poll conducted by EnviroNews Polls, and another conducted by the Jackson Hole News & Guide indicate the public is strongly opposed to the delisting of the Yellowstone grizzly bear. Readers may view the results and participate in those polls just below.
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