While most of America was enjoying Thanksgiving vacation last week, big things were happening in the world of grizzly bears. Or, rather, big things were staying the same.
A federal court ruled that grizzlies in the Yellowstone region will remain classified as a “threatened species” on the Endangered Species List, according to multiple news sources. The ruling has implications for hunters, ranchers and big game populations.
The government had originally planned to remove grizzlies from the Endangered Species List after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service noted that grizzly populations are now substantial enough to be managed by individual states.
“We’ve seen grizzly population increase dramatically,” said Thomas France, an attorney at the National Wildlife Federation, which was involved in the case. “The success on the ground seems clear to us.”
But an appellate court wasn’t buying it, and according to the ruling, believes that climate change and other factors such as beetle infestations were overlooked–and are still greatly impacting the bears’ food sources.
In essence, grizzlies now seem to be joining wolves as a species whose levels of protection and classification status are hotly debated and seemingly unpredictable from year to year.
The population of grizzly bears in the Yellowstone region has nearly tripled in the last three decades.