Grizzly bear no longer endangered in Yellowstone

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Good news! Federal wildlife officials have determined that the grizzly bear population in and around Yellowstone has recovered so well that they have the option of removing the species from the endangered species list.

The latest count of grizzlies in the Yellowstone region puts the estimated population of the hump-shouldered bruins at just over 750, well exceeding the government’s recovery goal of 500 animals, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. That compares with just 136 believed left in the Yellowstone ecosystem – encompassing parts of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho – when grizzlies were formally listed as threatened throughout the Lower 48 states in 1975, after they were hunted, trapped and poisoned to near extinction.

Not surprisingly, the article notes how environmental and American Indian groups oppose changing the bear’s status. Want to bet that they win the day and the bear remains endangered? Science really has very little to do with the endangered species act these days. It is all politics.


  • Phil Berardelli

    A former colleague was researching an article on the Yellowstone grizzlies a decade or so ago. He contacted an organization representing ranchers, property owners and local governments surrounding the park, and he asked them how many bears were inhabiting the area then. Their response: “Plenty — at least 410.” Then he contacted the primary organizing trying to protect and promote the bear population and asked them the same question. Their answer: “Way too few — only about 410.” Context is everything.

  • Phil Berardelli

    I meant “primary organization.” Wish we could correct our comments if necessary.

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