For Immediate Release
September 13, 2018
Erik Molvar, Western Watersheds Project (307)399-7910
Mike Garrity, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, (406) 459-5936
MISSOULA, Mont. – A federal judge today renewed the temporary restraining order that blocked grizzly bear hunting last month, giving the imperiled species another two-week reprieve from Wyoming and Idaho’s plans to start trophy hunts.
“We were thrilled two weeks ago when the court blocked the start of the hunting season, and we’re grateful that the judge continued to offer temporary protection pending his decision,” said Erik Molvar, Executive Director of Western Watersheds Project. “We are optimistic that the final ruling will return Yellowstone grizzlies to the Endangered Species list and afford them the full protections they deserve.
The government delisted the bear in June 2017, immediately prompting five lawsuits from tribal and conservation plaintiffs. Despite the small populations of the bear, Idaho and Wyoming had planned to open hunting seasons for the bears starting September 1, 2018, but those plans were thwarted by an emergency restraining order granted in the case two weeks ago. Today’s ruling extends that restraining order for another 14 days.
“Even temporary measures like a two-week restraining order protect these bears from the immediate threats of the hunting season,” said Mike Garrity, Executive Director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies. “But the grizzly is still facing long-term threats that the government hasn’t yet meaningfully addressed.”
“Another restraining order is good,” said Dr. Sara Johnson, Director of Native Ecosystems Council. “But putting them back on the Endangered Species list is the most appropriate action this court could take.”
Tim Bechtold of Bechtold Law Firm of Missoula, Montana, David Bell, and Rebecca Smith represented Western Watersheds Project, Alliance for Wild Rockies and Native Ecosystems Council in the litigation.