USFWS announces delisting of Yellowstone grizzly bears

©Jim Peaco, NPS

On Jun. 22, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced their intent to publish a final rule removing grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) from the list of imperilled species under the Endangered Species Act. The GYE population — a distinct population segment of grizzly bears occupying portions of northwestern Wyoming, southwestern Montana, and eastern Idaho — has risen to an estimated 700 individuals from as few as 136 in 1975. In Dec. 2016, a subcommittee of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee signed the final 2016 Conservation Strategy for Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem Grizzly Bears to help guide management and monitoring once the population was deemed recovered and delisted. USFWS plans to publish the final rule in the Federal Register within the week and will also release a final supplement of the 1993 Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan for the Yellowstone Grizzly Bear population. The final rule will take effect 30 days after publication and will not impact the endangered species status of other grizzly bear populations in the contiguous United States outside of GYE.

The Wildlife Society has shown support for delisting the GYE population, so long as recovery targets continue to be met and demographic rate thresholds are maintained, through the release of a position statement in 2011 and submission of comments in response to last year’s proposed rule to delist the GYE population.

Read the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Press Release.