CALIFORNIA, SF, July 10 – The skin of the bear should not be sold before killing it: the San Francisco Court of Appeal decided on Wednesday to keep the grizzly bears of the Yellowstone region until further notice the list of protected species, thwarting the plans of certain hunters.
In 2017, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Authority (USFWS) decided to remove Grizzly bears from Yellowstone National Park, which spans Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana, from the list of species threatened, due to the increase in their population.
As hunting is prohibited in the national park, but it is authorized in certain neighboring areas. Therefore, the states of Wyoming and Idaho had planned to organize “trophy hunts” for the first time in more than forty years, in 2018. And up-to 23 grizzly bears could have been slaughtered outside the park limits.
This outraged many environmental organizations and several Native American tribes challenged the USFWS decision in court.
They had won their case in the first instance. The court had ruled that these bears should return to the list of protected species and therefore could not be hunted.
Courts of the San Francisco upheld the judgment on Wednesday, unanimously finding that the USFWS had not taken into account the impact of its decision on the grizzly bear population. They ordered to review on solid scientific grounds.
“It is a huge victory for those who care about Yellowstone and its grizzly bears, symbols of what remains of our reduced nature and of our wildlife which is attacked”, reacted Tim Preso, a lawyer for the NGO Earthjustice, which represented the northern Cheyenne tribe.
“The grizzly bear population is still far from being rebuilt. Hunting these magnificent animals through the most emblematic American national park should never be the case again,” said Andrea Zaccardi, a lawyer for the Center for Biological Diversity.
In 1975, there were only 136 grizzly bears left.
Today their number is estimated at around 700 in Yellowstone Park and neighboring states. They would be approximately 1,500 in total on the territory of the United States, excluding Alaska.