If you pay attention, study, and research, you already know that hunters are major contributors to conservation efforts. With the help of regulations, all animal populations can and will thrive. Today we can cheer because we’ve saved a population of animals from extinction. This is great news. Yesterday the U.S. Department of Interior released the responsible management of the Yellowstone Grizzly to the states.
I find it interesting that many media outlets not only attempt, but succeed, at skewing the reality of this conservation success. I’ve seen a variety of headlines highlight the announcement. The New York Times stretches the truth with ‘Yellowstone Grizzly Bear to Lose Endangered Species Protection’ as their leader. The connotation of the headline insinuates that and endangered species is going to be annihilated. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Instead, wouldn’t it be better if they pointed out, as the folks at Cattle Network did, ‘Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Populations Grow; Is Delisted as an Endangered Species’?
The truth is, the grizzly population has been managed to the point where they are no longer endangered but are prolific in the Yellowstone area. Once a species has grown to this point, it’s time to manage their growth. An animal such as the griz, which has no predators, will eventually grow to the point such that they will decimate the area’s habitat. Putting the management plan into the state’s hands will allow them to allocate hunting licenses, thus further protecting the grizzly bears.
Readers should avoid being baited in by misleading headlines. The grizzly, as with all wildlife, are still protected. Hunters will not be allowed to pursue these animals unless the states allow the sale of hunting licenses, at which time the undoubtedly will be limited. Those who are non-hunters need to know that there is no free-for-all in hunting. There are great regulations, which have indeed saved numerous wildlife populations. Hunting IS conservation.
Learn more, and read the press release below, regarding the Yellowstone Grizzly delisting at Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
Department of Interior Announces Recovery
and Delisting of Yellowstone Grizzly Population
MISSOULA, Mont.—The U.S. Department of Interior announced the recovery of the Yellowstone grizzly bear population as well as its intent to remove federal protections and return management to state agencies.
“The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation supports the delisting of grizzly bears,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “It’s been a long time coming and we think this is the appropriate move by Secretary Zinke and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.”
The Yellowstone population rebounded from as few as 136 bears in 1975 to an estimated 700 today. Confirmed sightings of grizzlies are taking place in locations where they have not previously been seen for more than 100 years as they extend their range in the Northern Rockies.
“This achievement stands as one of America’s great conservation successes; the culmination of decades of hard work and dedication on the part of the state, tribal, federal and private partners,” said U.S, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “As a Montanan, I’m proud of what we’ve achieved together.”
The Yellowstone grizzly population meets all delisting criteria. These factors include not only the number and distribution of bears throughout the ecosystem, but also the quantity and quality of the habitat available and the states’ commitments to manage the population from now on in a manner that maintains its healthy and secure status.
“We do caution everybody to manage their expectations about the potential of hunting grizzly bears. The reality is there will be very minimal hunting of grizzly bears for the next several years. Those who oppose the delisting are going to try and use ‘trophy hunting’ as a major obstacle and reason not to delist grizzly bears. It’s purely rhetoric and propaganda,” added Allen.
The final rule, and the supporting documents, will publish in coming days in the Federal Register and the rule will take effect 30 days after publication.
About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded over 30 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of more than 222,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 7.1 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for science-based resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage.