More than 50 Native American tribes in the United States and Canada are expected to sign a treaty this Friday, Oct. 7, urging that federal regulations under the Endangered Species Act be maintained for grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) living in and around Yellowstone National Park.
In March, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed delisting the bears in Yellowstone, stating that all recovery goals for the species in this area had been met or exceeded. However, the tribes signing on to the treaty are concerned about what may happen to grizzly bears and the lands they inhabit if the animal is removed from the ESA. The tribes are especially concerned about the possibility for trophy hunting if the animal is delisted, considering the grizzly bear’s cultural significance.
This is only the third treaty of its kind to be proposed in the last 150 years. Tribes from Canada and the United States are coming together as an expression of the cultural and religious ties that unite these tribes across national boundaries.
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