The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to delist the grizzly bear in Yellowstone.
Is this great news, an indication that this lumbering, resourceful and sometimes ornery
embodiment of the western spirit has made a successful comeback? Are Sierra Club agents in
Montana pricing cases of champagne?
Said Louisa Willcox, project coordinator for the Sierra Club Grizzly Bear Ecosystem
Project, "Grizzly levels in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem are about as low today
as they were when the population was listed as threatened in 1975. Fish and Wildlife is
arguing that the population is sufficient enough to delist because they're equating seeing
more bears with there being more bears. In reality, scientific studies show that the bears
are just moving closer in to humans partly because of dwindling food sources and
habitat." There are currently only a few hundred grizzlies in the region, a minute
fraction of the levels when Lewis and Clark passed through. Delisting would remove current
prohibitions on killing and harassing the grizzly, a step that would increase human-caused
"Proposed oil and gas developments in the Bridger-Teton, Shoshone and Targhee
national forests would have to be severely modified or scrapped if the bears - and their
habitat - retain their protections," said Willcox. This translates into pressure on
Fish and Wildlife to delist the bear, and the Club is afraid this could translate into
extinction in the long haul. Grizzly bears are considered a "coal mine canary"
species, large barometers of the health of an ecosystem. If bears and their habitat lose
Endangered Species Act protections, the untouched land around stream headwaters could also
suffer. This spells trouble for human communities and all species whose future is linked
to the land.
To Take Action: Call or write U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Jamie
Clark and Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, and tell them that delisting is premature.
Both can be reached at the Department of Interior: 1849 C St. NW, Washington, DC 20240.
Babbitt: (202) 208-7351; firstname.lastname@example.org;
Clark:(202) 208-4717; email@example.com.
Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper explaining your concerns about
Sign up to participate in our grizzly recovery network: Sierra Club Grizzly Bear
Ecosystems Project, 234 E. Mendenhall, Bozeman, MT 59715; (406) 582-8365, fax (406)
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