Activists Say the Trump Administration Is Making Yellowstone Bears Vulnerable to Hunters

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Strict mortality limits will be put in place, according to Hilary Cooley-the Grizzly Bear Recovery Coordinator for Fish, Wildlife and Parks across all 48 conjoined states. The 15 months that have passed since then have been used to by federal officials to evaluate states' grizzly management plans and respond to themes of concern generated by 650,000 comments from the public, including wildlife advocates and Native American tribal officials who are staunchly opposed to hunting grizzly bears.

In an interview on NPR, Nathan Rott explained when grizzlies were first listed under the Endangered Species Act, there were fewer than 150 bears in the region.

The controversial move has always been debated, despite the bear's increasing population in areas where it had not been seen in decades. That's a remarkable turnaround that the Interior Department feels should be celebrated. Across the continental USA, grizzly bear populations have shrunk from almost 50,000 bears in the 1800s to less than 2,000, total, today.

"[On] private land, there's livestock, there's corn fields, and bears are coming out and depredating livestock", Cooley said.

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That population exceeds the government's minimum recovery goal of 500 bears in the greater Yellowstone region, encompassing parts of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho.

Federal resources used to prepare the final rule on Yellowstone's bear population will be shifted to planning for lifting protections for the bears living in the Northern Continental Divide, Hogan said. It means that a population has recovered enough to no longer require extra protections, which should be considered a good thing. Sows have their first cubs at 5 to 8 years of age, and space them three years apart. But he believes the population should stay about the size it is now to remain ecologically viable. The days of bears stealing picnic baskets, once a very real phenomena, have been stamped out. Food-conditioned bears often have to be removed from the population. Some 10 percent of grizzlies wear Global Positioning System collars that record their location as often as every hour and then remotely download that information on to a computer overhead in an airplane. State management would be monitored for five years after the delisting, and if numbers fall below 600, special rules will kick in to reduce hunting and other mortalities. "And so the key to success and sustainability is sound science based management, and really it's a test of our tolerance, and overall abilities to manage the wild".

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