The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service has reinstated Endangered Species Act protections for grizzly bears living near Yellowstone National Park.
In the lower 48 there are six isolated regions of grizzly habitat, but the biggest population of bears live in Wyoming. That’s why the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service removed protections for those roughly 700 bears last year.
A judge ruled against that decision saying it was based on bad science and that the federal government has to look at the bear population in the lower 48 as a whole and not just consider isolated pockets.
Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming criticized the relisting, saying it wasn’t rooted in science but “rather the result of excessive litigation pursued by radical environmentalists.”
Environmental attorney Matthew Bishop disagrees.
"Grizzlies are not recovered in the lower 48 yet," says Bishop. "So we think any attempts to try and delist these isolated populations is premature, and we just don’t think it’s the right approach to grizzly bear recovery."
The reinstatement of protections means that all grizzlies in the lower 48 are protected again. The federal government is appealing.
Find reporter Amanda Peacher on Twitter @amandapeacher.
Copyright 2019 Boise State Public Radio
This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUER in Salt Lake City, KUNR in Nevada and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.