Conservation organizations had a mixed response to Gov. Mark Gordon’s request for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem grizzly bears from the endangered species list.
Some, like the Wyoming Wildlife Federation, applauded Gordon’s move to officially file the petition Tuesday after months of discussion of the issue.
“This organization and our members are confident in the careful management plan and protections that the Wyoming Game and Fish Department has put forth to carry the grizzly bear into our future,” Jessi Johnson, government affairs director for the WWF, told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday. “The grizzly bear population has well surpassed delisting objectives. Support of science-based management is a cornerstone of the Federation’s mission and we look forward to working with the WGFD to ensure that sportsmen put their best foot forward for the future of grizzly bears, grizzly bear management, and grizzly bear hunting in this state.”
The Wyoming Outfitters and Guides Association said the move was “about time.”
“Of course we are in favor,” President Sy Gilliland told Cowboy State Daily. “Management of Wyoming’s wildlife belongs in the hands of the Wyoming Game & Fish Department.”
However, not all wildlife organizations were in favor of the delisting.
Andrea Zaccardi, senior attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, called the request an attack on grizzlies.
“This outrageous request from Wyoming’s governor is the latest attack on animals like grizzly bears by states that see them as little more than targets for trophy hunters,” Andrea Zaccardi, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, said on Tuesday. “There is no science to back the claim that grizzlies no longer need protection. Federal officials need to send a clear message by swiftly rejecting this request.”
On Tuesday, Gordon officially petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem from the endangered species list and put their management in the hands of the surrounding states.
The petition, filed with the support of Idaho and Montana, states that grizzly bears in the region have been fully recovered, as defined by federal guidelines, since 2003.
All three members of Wyoming’s congressional delegation support delisting, with all three of them introducing some type of related legislation in Congress.
The FWS has 90 days to review the petition. At that time, the petition can be denied or approved for additional review.
If approved, the FWS can take up to 12 months to further review and analyze the state’s request and come to a final decision.