10:03 PM

Historic threats must be addressed to delist Yellowstone grizzly


Contact: Melanie Gade, mgade@defenders.org (202)772-0288

Date: March 3, 2016

Historic threats must be addressed to delist Yellowstone grizzly

MISSOULA, Mont. – Defenders of Wildlife is closely reviewing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposal announced today to delist the population of grizzlies in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem under the Endangered Species Act and assessing the extent to which long-standing threats to the population have been adequately addressed.

Defenders believes that if grizzlies are ultimately delisted in the Yellowstone area, their continued recovery will depend upon the following factors:

  •  A strong precautionary management approach and conservation commitment from the states to maintain a stable and sustainable population of bears
  • Increased social tolerance and public acceptance of sharing the landscape with this iconic species throughout its range
  • A commitment from the states and other relevant federal agencies to provide the opportunity for future connectivity to other grizzly bear populations beyond Yellowstone.

Jamie Rappaport Clark, President and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife, issued the following statement:

“Protection under the Endangered Species Act brought this population of grizzly bears back from fewer than 200 in 1975 to more than 700 bears today and is truly one of our nation’s greatest conservation success stories. It is therefore critical that this historic conservation achievement be maintained if there is a change in status under the Endangered Species Act. We will be carefully reviewing the management commitments for the species from the three affected states to assess whether they will provide for the sustainable, long-term conservation of this population of bears. 

“As grizzlies come back to areas they have not inhabited for over 100 years, there needs to be an expanded investment in on-the-ground coexistence measures that minimize conflicts between people and grizzlies. It will take a coordinated and dedicated effort by state and federal agencies, conservation organizations and those living, working and recreating in bear country to ensure a long-term future for these bears.”

Background:  Throughout the Northern Rockies, Defenders works closely with management agencies, other conservation groups and local residents to minimize conflict between bears and people. Since 1998, Defenders has invested over a million dollars on close to 300 on-the-ground projects including installing electric fencing around numerous bear attractants, purchasing bear resistant garbage containers for residents, and placing bear resistant food lockers in campgrounds. All of these measures reduce the likelihood of lethal bear/human conflicts and increase human tolerance for the presence of bears on the landscape. Defenders will also continue to work hard to ensure that adequate protections remain on our public lands for grizzly bears both within recovery areas and in important areas between bear populations. The long term health and resiliency of the Yellowstone grizzly population will require its connectivity with other populations.


Get the latest Defenders news on Twitter @defendersnews.

Past press statements are available in our newsroom and be sure to visit our multimedia library and reporter resources pages for more info, including free-use photos.

Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit