Grizzly bears residing in the Yellowstone National Park have been removed from the endangered species list. After several decades of successful conservation efforts, the bears’ numbers have increased so much the protections are no longer necessary, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of the Interior.
According to the release, various factors led to the determination that the grizzly population in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) was recovered. From the release:
Multiple factors indicate it is healthy and will be sustained into the future. 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.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said that the delisting is a “culmination of decades of hard work and dedication on the part of the state, tribal, federal and private partners.”
The GYE grizzly population went from as few as 136 bears in 1975 to the 700 estimated today, meeting the criteria for delisting. Zinke says, “This achievement stands as one of America’s great conservation successes.”
Only grizzly bears living in the GYE will be removed from the endangered wildlife list. That includes parts of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. Grizzlies living outside the Yellowstone ecosystem will continue to remain on the protected list, according to Zinke, who grew up in Montana.
“I can tell you that this is a long time coming and very good news for many communities and advocates in the Yellowstone region,” Zinke said. “As a Montanan, I’m proud of what we’ve achieved together.”
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