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MISSOULA, Mont. August 30, 2018 – With the clock ticking down before the states of Wyoming and Idaho allow for trophy hunting of grizzly bears in the Yellowstone region, a Native American tribe and conservation groups filed a request for a temporary restraining order to stop the hunt while a federal judge decides whether the federal government should reinstate federal protections for the bears.
Judge Dana L. Christensen heard oral argument today on the challenge to the federal government’s 2017 decision to remove federal Endangered Species Act protections from a segment of the lower-48 grizzly population that occupies habitat in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Earthjustice filed the temporary restraining order today on behalf of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, and National Park Conservation Association.
In August 2017, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed the Yellowstone-region grizzly bear population from the federal endangered and threatened species list, even though the area’s grizzly population has suffered high levels of human-caused deaths in recent years.
This fall, for the first time in more than 40 years, the states of Wyoming and Idaho announced grizzly hunts that would allow for up to 23 bears to be killed outside of Yellowstone National Park.
The Northern Cheyenne Tribe and conservation groups challenged the Fish and Wildlife Service’s disregard of bear deaths following the bears’ recent shift to a more heavily meat-based diet following the loss of other foods.
The tribe and groups also faulted the Service for carving out and delisting the isolated Yellowstone grizzly population instead of focusing on a broader, more durable grizzly recovery in the West. They further challenged the Service’s decision to disallow public input on changes to its management framework for grizzlies, which weakened protections.