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Federal Officials Plan To Delist Grizzlies, Handing Management Over To Idaho And Other States

Charles Peterson
Flickr Creative Commons

Federal wildlife officials plan to take the grizzly bear off the Endangered Species List in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. If the proposal goes through, Idaho will take over management of the bear within the state’s borders. 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe says the decision to take the iconic predator off the list comes after decades of collaboration. 

“Over the past dozen years the population growth has slowed and it’s stabilized,” Ashe says, “which scientists tell us is a clear indication that the Yellowstone ecosystem is at or near its capacity for grizzly bears.” 

Ashe says now, it’s up to the wildlife managers in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming to manage the bear population. He says the grizzly delisting is an example of how the Endangered Species Act is supposed to work. 

“It’s now our obligation to delist the population, return management to state and tribal wildlife professionals. And that’s what the law’s creators envisioned.”       

Once the bear is removed from the list, it’s possible the animal could be hunted. An Idaho Fish and Game official declined to comment specifically about this possibility, but says grizzlies have been warranted for delisting for years. 

Some environmental groups, though, disagree, and say the delisting comes too soon

Find Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

Copyright 2016 Boise State Public Radio

Frankie Barnhill was the Senior Producer of Idaho Matters, Boise State Public Radio's daily show and podcast.