The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals correctly upheld the decision from Judge Dana Christensen that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made the choice to delist grizzlies for the wrong reasons.
The Circuit Court ruled that “because there were no concrete, enforceable mechanisms in place to ensure long-term genetic health of the Yellowstone grizzly, the district court correctly concluded that the 2017 Rule was arbitrary and capricious in that regard.” The Circuit Court also affirmed that “FWS’s decision to drop the commitment to recalibration in the conservation
strategy violated the ESA because it was the result of political pressure by the states rather than having been based on the best scientific and commercial data.”
We applaud this decision from the 9th Circuit Court and are grateful for the groups that brought the case, including native tribes who revere the grizzly as a relative. Grizzlies are not increasing in numbers but are expanding their range in search of food. An island population of grizzlies without connectivity to other populations is doomed to decline because of genetic inbreeding. The state of Wyoming is chomping at the bit to trophy hunt grizzlies but not on our watch. For the foreseeable future, hunts will be off-limits as bears are under continued protections of the Endangered Species Act.