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Environmentalists debate ‘delisting’ of Yellowstone grizzly bear from endangered species

A Grizzly bear mother and her cub walk near Pelican Creek October 8, 2012 in the Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.Yellowstone National Park is America's first national park. It was established in 1872. Yellowstone extends through Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho.  The park's name is derived from the Yellowstone River, which runs through the park.  AFP PHOTO/Karen BLEIER        (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)
KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images
A Grizzly bear mother and her cub walk near Pelican Creek October 8, 2012 in the Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.

A public comment period ends this Friday on whether or not to remove the Yellowstone grizzly bear from the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife.

A public comment period ends this Friday on whether or not to remove the Yellowstone grizzly bear from the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife.

Added to the list in the 1970s, the bear’s population numbers have more than doubled in the 40 years it’s been federally protected, but now some biologists and environmentalists say it’s time for them to be “delisted.” Opponents argue that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which proposed delisting the bear, is rushing to make a decision without fully understanding the impacts of delisting on the bear’s habitat.

Delisting the bear would remove federal protections that prohibit things like hunting grizzlies in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE). If Fish and Wildlife does move forward with delisting, protection of the bears would be turned over to the states of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. Parks and wildlife officials in those have proposed plans for both protecting and hunting Yellowstone grizzlies.

There’s still time to weigh in before the public comment period closes. You can submit your comment to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service here.

Guests:

Matt Hogan, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Mountain-Prairie Region 6 in Colorado

Rick Bass, writer-in-residence at Montana State University and author of L.A. Times op-ed ‘Don’t delist Yellowstone’s grizzlies

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