Lakewood, CO. – September 24, 2018 – U.S. District Court Judge Dana Christensen issued a decision today, invalidating the delisting of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem grizzly bear and returning the bear to the endangered species list—contrary to the recommendation of 20 years of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service research.
Ranchers in western Wyoming have faced mounting losses to their sheep and cattle in recent years and have faced more frequent attacks on humans as the grizzly population has continued to swell in number and expand its territory. “This ruling will allow the grizzly population to continue to grow unfettered under federal management, endangering the lives and livelihoods of westerners who settled the region long ago,” said Cody Wisniewski of Mountain States Legal Foundation, lead attorney on the case.
Wyoming resident Mary A. Thoman of W&M Thoman Ranches, LLC, whose family has raised sheep in western Wyoming for nearly seven decades, had to give up her family grazing land after her losses became too great.
“I am afraid that the Western way of life will be lost for future generations,” she wrote in an op-ed published in USA Today.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed the Yellowstone area grizzly from the endangered species list in 2017, after research showed that population numbers in the region had climbed to at least 700, from a low of 136 recorded in 1975.
“This achievement stands as one of America’s great conservation successes,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke about the 2017 delisting.
Earlier this month Judge Christensen issued a temporary restraining order to stop Wyoming and Idaho’s planned grizzly bear hunts while the court made its decision. The court’s decision today, however, puts the agenda of well-financed special interest groups ahead of westerners who live and work in constant fear of this apex-level predator.
“Congress intended that, when a species was recovered, it would be removed from federal listing and management would be turned back over to State jurisdiction,” said William Perry Pendley, president of Mountain States Legal Foundation. “Not only does this ruling frustrate the will of Congress; it also exposes westerners who defend themselves against attacking grizzlies to years of federal prosecution, fines, and possible imprisonment.”
Mountain States Legal Foundation, created in 1977, is a nonprofit, public-interest legal foundation dedicated to individual liberty, the right to own and use property, limited and ethical government, and the free enterprise system. Its offices are in suburban Denver, Colorado.