Monday, October 26, 2015

Yellowstone’s Grizzlies: License to Kill or Coexist?

In Yellowstone most grizzly bears die from human causes, and most grizzly bear deaths are avoidable according to the federal government which has protected them since 1975. The spate of 46 grizzly bear deaths thus far this year is shocking, as is the recent rate: an average of about one bear killed every 2 days since September. There have never been so many illegal killings reported in one year, 10 and counting. Applying a federal estimator to account for unknown mortality, about 70 bears or 10% of the Yellowstone grizzly bear population is dead this year. These numbers are part of a larger trend of increasing mortalities that call into question the wisdom of removing protections (“delisting”) and legalizing a bear trophy hunt. A review of past agency recommendations, discussed below, underscore that much more can and must be done to ensure the safety and well-being of grizzly bears and people in this world-class ecosystem. The documents containing these recommendations also reveals some deeply twisted thinking about legalizing killing of grizzly bears to reduce poaching – and the profound problem of the government echo-chamber...more

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