Wyoming may hold the first grizzly bear hunt in the contiguous United States since 1975, when the animal was listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, The Washington Post reported.
President Donald Trump removed the grizzly from the list in 2017 after the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) found the grizzly population increased from 136 bears in 1975 to around 700. Wyoming’s proposed hunt will allow hunters to bag up to two dozen grizzlies, according to WaPo.
The state will take “a very conservative approach” to the hunt. The state’s licensed hunters can kill a dozen bears total inside Yellowstone National Park and another dozen outside the park’s borders. Only two female bears are allowed to be killed inside the park, Wyoming Game and Fish Department spokesman Renny MacKay told WaPo.
The state would consider holding hunts this year after the public had time to comment, a Wyoming Game and Fish Department official told The Daily Caller News Foundation in 2017. The state agreed to hold the hunt after having eight public meetings and one Facebook live event, which received positive feedback, but maintained it would be “highly regulated,” MacKay said.
Environmentalists sued the FWS after the bear was delisted, claiming the agency arbitrarily removed the grizzly from the Endangered Species List and is unnecessarily “taking a gamble with the grizzly’s future,” Earthjustice attorney Timothy Preso said in a press release.
Environmentalists have not backed off their stance and criticized Wyoming’s decision to hunt grizzlies.
“Killing just one or two could definitely impact the local grizzly bear population,” Center for Biological Diversity Senior Attorney Andrea Santarsiere told WaPo. “Killing 14 could have far-reaching consequences.”
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