Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Tribes say they’re shut out of grizzly bear delisting

A federal official has rebutted complaints that the government is not working with Native American tribes and that it has put a trophy hunter in charge of removing the Yellowstone-area grizzly bear from Endangered Species Act protection. A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokeswoman said tribes have been represented on a committee that’s recommending delisting the bear. The federal agency — not a single person — makes such recommendations based on science and study, she said. Spokeswoman Serena Baker made her comments in response to a letter to federal officials from Tom Poor Bear, vice president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. In it he rails against the government saying, “the Oglala Sioux Tribe and the Oglala Lakota people steadfastly stand in opposition the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s [delisting] intention…” Among the fears is that delisting will lead to hunting of grizzly bears, a species considered sacred to tribes. Wyoming, Idaho and Montana, not the federal government, would decide on hunting after federal protections are removed, likely by the end of this year. About 47,000 persons are enrolled Oglala Lakota members, according to the Pine Ridge Agency. “The Oglala Sioux Tribe strongly refutes claims made by the US Fish and W,oand laws,” Poor Bear wrote...more

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