The US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) said on January 12, 2017 that it could take the agency another six months to finish reviewing 650,000 public comments submitted on the decision to remove the Yellowstone grizzly bear from the ESA list. Many of those 650,000 comments contain arguments, scientific and otherwise, about why the Yellowstone grizzly bear should not be delisted, especially because of the threat of climate change and an ill-advised trophy grizzly hunt. To review is to take another look, to evaluate. Does this mean the FWS would re-open its mind to those thousands of comments who argue the best available science says don’t delist the grizzly?
I can only wish this to be the case. The Endangered Species Act’s "best available science" mandate remains Yellowstone’s grizzlies’ best friend Whereas the past years’ Save the Yellowstone Grizzly campaign appealed to the White House, a fresh effort should be aimed directly at the FWS where some biologist are hopefully still weighing the best available science.
Our June 3, 2016 letter to President Obama included this statement:
"Unfortunately, the March 3, 2016, delisting announcement by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) came paired with an astonishing declaration in the Federal Register: 'Therefore, we conclude that the effects of climate change do not constitute a threat to the [Yellowstone grizzly bear population] now, nor are they anticipated to in the future.’"
That letter was signed by E. O. Wilson, George Schaller, Jane Goodall and Michael Soule—among the world’s most respected scientists.
I believe that now we should ask many, many other scientists, peers of those FWS agency biologists, to speak out on behalf of the best available science for Yellowstone’s grizzlies. This dialogue will take place in a public forum, as there is no official comment period remaining. Those who love wild nature as well as our grandchildren must fight to recognize and respond to the beast of out time—climate change, which is indeed probably also the key argument for not delisting the grizzly.
Call it peer pressure, but let’s give it a shot; we have nothing to lose unless it’s everything.
A star-studded coalition of scientists, authors, movie stars and conservationists has launched a media campaign and petition to convince President Barack Obama to take executive action, overruling an agency proposal to take the Yellowstone grizzly bear off the Endangered Species list.
Esteemed scientists Jane Goodall, George B. Schaller, Michael Soule, and Edward O. Wilson joined with actors Jeff Bridges, Harrison Ford and Michael Keaton, authors Carl Hiaasen, Scott Momaday, Terry Tempest Williams, Douglas Brinkley, and Thomas McGuane, along with businessman Yvon Chouinard and former Yellowstone park superintendent Michael Finley, sending a plea to the president following an announcement by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) last spring of its intention to remove federal protections of the bear.
Today, Save the Yellowstone Grizzly launches a petition to reverse the FWS action, along with a website featuring video testimony from Bridges, Chouinard, Goodall, Hiaasen, Tempest-Williams and myself, in which we make their case for the grizzly’s future.
Yellowstone’s grizzly bears are in grave danger and require continuing federal protection for their survival. It is imperative the great bears remain listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
The FWS has regrettably taken steps to remove these protections (an action called “delisting”), and allow a grizzly bear trophy hunt on the edges of Yellowstone National Park. Americans would never permit hunting of the American bald eagle; hunting Yellowstone’s grizzly bears is equally unacceptable.
Yellowstone’s bears are genetically and physically isolated from all other grizzly populations. Their long-term survival depends on their ability to wander safely outside of Yellowstone National Park, linking up with other grizzly populations in other ecosystems.
Grizzlies are one of the slowest reproducing land mammals in North America. Delisting triggers a trophy hunt that will put them on the path to extinction.
The Yellowstone grizzly’s major food sources are in decline: Cutthroat trout have been reduced by 90 percent, and most critically, global warming has decimated the grizzly’s most important food, nuts of the whitebark pine tree.
In its delisting proposal, the FWS makes the declaration that climate change will not affect the Yellowstone grizzly now or in the future. This myopic statement flies in the face of scientific study and reality on the ground, calling into question the agency’s competency and intentions.
You can help. Please join our continuing campaign by signing this petition asking President Obama to take executive action, keeping the Yellowstone grizzly bear on the Endangered Species list. Also, you may view the videos and get updates at our website:
Please help spread the word by sharing these links with your friends.
Here is the Daily Beast article posted last night. Note, all photos are of grizzly 399, a mother bear who a Jackson Hole outfitter has pledged to kill as soon as the states issue trophy hunting licenses.
Please read the excellent article in today’s New York Times op-ed on the bison slaughter in Yellowstone. This lingering outrage remains a slap in the face of all things wild and reasonable: How little things have changed for the buffalo. I went back to the articles I had written about Yellowstone bison 20 years ago and was appalled how today so much is the same—the myth of brucellosis, the holy right of cattle grazing on public land and the irrational hatred, the need to kill the dark animals of Yellowstone--the wolf, the grizzly and the bison. The cover stories in Audubon and Wild Earth were written in response to the slaughter of over a thousand bison during the winter of 1996-1997, the same year the Buffalo Field Campaign was organized. And still, the National Park Service is pimping for the well-funded livestock industry. Shame on us and, yes, we are all in this together. Support the Campaign and tell Yellowstone Park to read its own mandate.
Yellowstone Park continues to break its own visitation records. Millions of Americans flock to see its world famous animal spectical. One of Yellowstone's most iconic creatures, the endangered Grizzly Bear, has become a target for wandering outside the park boundary. Its seasonal food sources there are now gone as a result of climate change so it has to move to survive. Being a hungry bear is not a good enough reason for states around Yellowstone to call for a trophy hunt of this creature beloved by millions. Trophy hunting would spell disaster for the grizzly as it struggles to adapt to so many human pressures on its shrinking wilderness home. Trophy hunting should never be part of Grizzly Bear management. Please join me in demanding no tolerance for trophy hunts of the endangered Grizzly.
I was interviewed by my fellow vet, Adventurer of the Year, Stacy Bare for the Huffington Post. It was posted a few hours ago. The subjects are grizzly and polar bears, iconic American wildlife, Yellowstone delisting of grizzlies, veterans in the wilderness and Western states’ proposed takeover of public lands.