US challenges part of ruling that blocked grizzly bear hunts


BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — U.S. officials asked a federal appeals court on Friday to overturn part of a judge’s ruling that blocked the first grizzly bear hunts in the Lower 48 states in almost three decades.

The case before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals involves more than 700 grizzly bears in and around Yellowstone National Park. It comes after a judge in Montana restored protections for the animals last September.

U.S. Justice Department attorneys said the judge was wrong to require officials to review the status of grizzlies everywhere before lifting protections for bruins in the Yellowstone region. They also rejected the notion that the bears’ long-term genetic health was in doubt.

But the attorneys did not challenge other concerns raised by U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen. That includes whether sufficient safeguards are in place to keep the bears from sliding toward extinction if states take over management of the animals.

The Fish and Wildlife Service “has accepted a remand in this case and is already working on some of the issues identified by the district court,” the attorneys wrote.

Prominent Investor Cancels New York Plans 40 Years in the Making After Trump Ruling

Grizzly bears were listed as a threatened species in 1975 and have slowly regained territory and increased in numbers in the ensuing decades.

If protections are again lifted for the animals, jurisdiction over them would be returned to state officials — and hunting that has been planned in Wyoming and Idaho could proceed.

Christensen’s ruling blocked the two states last year, just as hunting was scheduled to begin. The hunts would have killed up to 23 bears, which state officials maintained was a sustainable figure given the size and expansive range of the animals.

Also Friday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a report indicating grizzly bear numbers are holding steady in the Yellowstone area and elsewhere in the Northern Rockies.

More than 1,000 of the bruins occupy a vast swath of northwestern Montana that includes Glacier National Park.

The agency said both populations are biologically recovered after being decimated by hunting and trapping early last century. But the bears also experience high death rates amid conflicts with humans and livestock.

About 130 grizzlies roam areas of northern Idaho, northeastern Washington and southern British Columbia.

In his ruling last September that blocked hunting, Christensen said the struggle to return bears to some other areas of the Northern Rockies was not given enough consideration when officials decided to lift protections for Yellowstone’s grizzlies.

He noted an estimated 50,000 bears once roamed the contiguous U.S.

Penalties Announced for NBA Players Involved in Scuffle: Suspensions Enacted and Salaries Docked More Than $100K Each


Follow Matthew Brown on Twitter at .

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands. Photo credit: @AP on Twitter
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
New York City