Wyoming’s Senator Cynthia Lummis has introduced a bill in the U.S. Senate that would rfemove grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem from the Endangered Species List and shift management of the grizzlies to wildlife scientists in the states.
Joining in sponsoring the Grizzly Bear State Management Act of 2021 are Wyoming’s Senator John Barrasso, senators Mike Crapo and James Risch of Idaho and Senator Steve Daines of Montana.
Lummis said by all scientific measures, the grizzly bears of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem are fully recovered. She said reproductive numbers are stable, and the bear population is at or near its max capacity for the habitat. She added it’s time to remove the grizzlies from the Endangered Species List and allow wildlife scientists in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho to manage the populations according to science. She said grizzlies are an essential part of the ecosystem of Wyoming, but keeping them listed hurts more than helps their populations.
Barrasso said the science is clear that grizzlies in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem are thriving and don’t need protection under the Endangered Species Act. He said even President Obama’s director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreed in 2015 that the grizzly bear should be delisted.
Senator Risch added that grizzly bears met their recovery goals in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem over a decade ago, and Daines said the grizzly bear population has more than recovered in the area.
The proposed bill also drew praise from several local elected officials and associations in Wyoming, including the Park County commissioners and the Wyoming Outfitters and Guides Association. The outfitters association noted that 136 grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in 1975 had grown to nearly 730 in 2019, and an analysis suggested that the park is at or near its ecological carrying capacity for grizzlies.
A companion version of the Senate bill was previously introduced in the House by Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming.