Both Yellowstone grizzlies and Glacier Park grizzlies (the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem) will be delisted in 2014–or sooner.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service grizzly bear recovery cooridnator Chris Servheen recently told the Kalispell Daily Interlake that “removing the threatened Northern Rockies grizzly bear population from protection under the Endangered Species Act is still ‘several years out,” however, in November of 2011, Servheen’s Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee agreed “to propose delisting the NCDE grizzly bear population by the end of 2014.”
Servheen’s Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee also said, “We are in the process of deciding whether we’re going to produce another Proposed Rule [to delist Yellowstone grizzlies] based on added information on White Bark Pine and grizzly bears . . . That decision is in the process of being made and all IGBC partners will be a part of that decision . . . A decision should be made in the next month or so on how to move forward and the executive committee will be made aware of the decision.”
Servheen and his Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee colleagues already know when Yellowstone grizzlies will be delisted, but Servheen isn’t willing to share this information with the public. In April, an Associated Press article began by saying, “Grizzly bears in and around Yellowstone National Park will keep their threatened status for at least the next two to three years.”
Will Yellowstone grizzlies be delisted in 2014 or 2015? Or sooner? Sevheen and the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee know, but they’re keeping the public in the dark.
To speed up the delisting process for Yellowstone grizzlies, Servheen and the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee enlisted Wyoming governor Matt Mead. He recently sent a letter to Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar asking for a “quicker review” of Yellowstone grizzly bear issues so the bears would lose Endangered Species Act protection ASAP. Mead wants Servheen to “accelerate what could be a two-year review and analysis” of Yellowstone grizzly bear issues.
The four key issues are: One, the Yellowstone grizzly population is too small. Two, grizzly bear mortality is too high. Three, key bear foods are vanishing, especially whitebark pine seeds. Four, the 9,200 sq. mi. “Primary Conservation Area” where grizzly bear habitat is reasonably well protected is too small. Bears need more protected habitat.
Servheen and his colleagues will solve these problems by increasing the Yellowstone grizzly population–on paper–from 600 to 1,000. By increasing the grizzly population to 1,000–on paper–Servheen and his colleagues are attempting to prove that the loss of whitebark pine seeds and other key foods are irrelevant. Grizzlies are doing fine.
By increasing the grizzly popualtion to 1,000–on paper–there are so many bears that mortality limits will no longer be exceeded. Grizzlies are doing fine.
By increasing the grizzly population to 1,000–on paper–Servheen proves that that Primary Conservation Area provides plenty of habitat for bears. Grizzlies are doing fine.
Servheen and his colleagues have already done computer modeling that proves there are 1,000 grizzlies in the Yellowstone region; they could do the paperwork necessary to delist grizzlies tomorrow. Governor Mead’s support just helps speed up the process.