Are grizzlies safe?
Grizzly bears in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem
have "recovered" and no longer need protection under the Endangered
Species Act. That's the opinion of a federal team known as the
Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, which decided in December to
support the Wyoming Game and Fish Department's decision to petition
for delisting the bear. "People should keep in mind that one of the
purposes of the Endangered Species Act is to recover and delist
species or distinct populations once the recovery goals are met,"
says Ralph Morgenweck, chairman of the interagency group. Several
environmental groups fear the committee's decision is premature.
Sierra Club spokesman Larry Mehlhaff says the current recovery plan
for the area's 270 bears is currently being challenged in federal
court "because it sets scientifically unsound population goals and
fails to protect habitat." Delisting would allow further
encroachment into the grizzly's territory, he says, and lead to
increasing conflicts between humans and bears. The petition for
delisting the bears may be sent to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service as early as this spring. For more information, contact the
USFWS, Ecological Services, P.O. Box 25486, Denver, CO 80225