The environmental loon community is apoplectic this week. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced it was moving forward with the proposal to remove the grizzly bear in the greater Yellowstone region from the list of endangered species.
The grizzly population has grown to over 730 animals from a low of around 300 when they were listed. This is well above the minimum of 500 bears the management plan listed as a minimum for recovery. The bears are dispersing into areas they haven’t utilized for over 100 years and conflicts with humans have grown proportionally as the population expanded. Nearly 60 animals were killed because of human-bear conflicts in 2015, the most ever indicating the population has saturated its existing habitat.
The USFWS proposed delisting several years ago, but the lunatic fringe howled that loss of white bark pine and cutthroat trout, two major food sources of grizzly bears, were leading to the dispersal and forcing more human conflicts, not that the population had saturated its environment. But the professional scientists followed up on that train of thought and disproved the idea, saying the bears were versatile and adaptable not relying on a single food source.
It’s funny that if the science is settled on global warming, why isn’t the science settled on grizzly bears? All of the credible scientists say grizzly bears are recovered and continuing to expand their range, but the delisting will be balled up in court for another two or three years at least.
Why? Because the management of the bears will go back to the states now, and just like with wolves, the environmental loon community doesn’t like management that might include the killing of a few bears by sport hunters, who completely fund the state’s wildlife management program. They would rather have bears hit by cars or cubs killed an eaten by male bears because the population has grown beyond what its habitat will support. They lie that the shooting of a handful of bears would send them right back to the endangered species list.
As with wolves, the grizzly bear population in the lower 48 states will continue to grow and their range will continue to expand. Delisting is not a road to extinction; it’s a reason to rejoice. The species has recovered due to sound management. That sound management will continue under the states.