Conservation Groups Appeal Federal Decision To Kill Up To 72 Grizzly Bears In Yellowstone National Park

A group of bears in a forest

A Trump administration-approved plan would allow up to 72 grizzly bears to be killed at Yellowstone National Park, in an effort to accommodate private livestock that surround the outskirts of the park.

With that being said, a number of groups filed a notice of appeal today, in an effort to keep this from happening, according to the Center for Biological Diversity via statement.

The Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club is appealing a decision that the U.S. District Court of Wyoming made in May, which allows the federal government to kill up to six dozen grizzly bears in the Upper Green River area of Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest.

Andrea Zaccardi, the carnivore conservation legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity, said:

“We’re determined to stop this terrible plan, which could be a death sentence for dozens of Yellowstone grizzly bears. The federal government shouldn’t be killing native species so the livestock industry can graze cattle on public lands for next to nothing. We believe the court’s decision was flawed, and we’ll continue to fight for the lives of these magnificent bears.”

The groups are backing up the appeal with the following argument:

“The court’s opinion contained several legal flaws. For example, the court erred when it determined that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) analysis discussing the project’s impacts to bears was legally sufficient, even after acknowledging that the agency’s analysis lacked a discussion of how many females could be killed under the project.”

The two groups are not the only ones fighting the decision, as the Western Watersheds Project, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, and Yellowstone Uintas Connection all asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit to reverse the decision.

Those groups argued:

“Grizzly bears reproduce slowly, with lengthy periods between litters of cubs. For that reason, maximizing the survival of female grizzlies is key to the recovery of the species.

Yet despite previous limits in the Upper Green on killing female grizzly bears—essential for population maintenance—the Service abandoned such protections in 2019 without explanation, and greenlit the lethal removal of dozens of bears over the next 10 years.”

The appeal also says the FWS violated the Bridger-Teton Forest Plan:

“The plan requires that grazing retain adequate forage and cover for wildlife. Yet according to the agency’s own scientists, the authorized level of use by domestic cattle will result in inadequate cover for sensitive amphibian and migratory bird species on these public lands.”

Bonnie Rice, a senior representative for the Sierra Club, also noted:

“the intentional killing of dozens of grizzly bears is a slap in the face to decades of recovery efforts in the Greater Yellowstone region.

We cannot allow these bears to be killed when a wide range of effective, nonlethal measures are available to livestock producers.

The priority should be requiring and enforcing conflict prevention measures and promoting coexistence and safety for bears and people.”

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock