Online Messenger #301
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In recent years, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has approved killing ever-increasing numbers of grizzly bears in Wyoming. Western Watersheds Project and the Sierra Club have notified the government that we will not tolerate these actions any more. The groups, represented by attorney Tim Preso at Earthjustice, have submitted the Notice of Intent to Sue for violations of the Endangered Species Act, stating that the levels of lethal grizzly bear removals pose a risk to the bear’s persistence in the region.
The government has recently approved the killing of 17 grizzlies in and around the Upper Green River watershed, in Grand Teton National Park, and on the National Elk Refuge. If these bears are “taken”, the total number of female grizzlies killed in the Yellowstone region will exceed the sustainable level by a factor of three.
When the federal government authorizes grizzly killing, it is supposed to look at the context in which that killing occurs. In Wyoming, the recent permissions have been given without consideration for the impacts to the population at large, in violation of the Endangered Species Act.
These bears are killed primarily to protect private livestock grazing on public lands, an ecological impact often overlooked by mainstream media. Grizzly bears are just one of many predator species killed to entrench cattle and sheep grazing on national parks and forests. The bears are killed for preying on domestic livestock, a natural response given the situation.
The NOIs for Grand Teton and the Upper Green can be read here. The government has 60 days to respond.