We should not be killing grizzly bears we’re trying to save. This hunt will add needless mortality to a population already experiencing high human-related grizzly bear deaths. The ability for the Yellowstone ecosystem grizzly bear population to become a source for natural recolonization of the Bitterroot ecosystem rests largely on decisions made by Idaho. Instead of focusing on hunting, Idaho Department of Fish and Game and the Commission should focus on providing protections that support grizzly bear occupancy and movement outside the Demographic Monitoring Area (DMA) and drafting of a statewide management plan.
Suzanne Stone, Idaho resident and Northwest senior representative
MCCALL, Idaho,
10
May
2018
|
05:45 PM
America/New_York

For Immediate Release

Idaho Fish and Game Commission Moves Forward with 2018 Grizzly Bear Hunting Season

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission is moving forward with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s (IDFG) proposal to open a hunting season for Greater Yellowstone ecosystem grizzly bears in 2018, less than a year after their delisting.

On April 16, IDFG proposed that the Commission allow for the hunting of one grizzly bear within the Demographic Monitoring Area (DMA).

Suzanne Stone, Idaho resident and Northwest senior representative at Defenders of Wildlife, issued this statement:

“We should not be killing grizzly bears we’re trying to save. This hunt will add needless mortality to a population already experiencing high human-related grizzly bear deaths. The ability for the Yellowstone ecosystem grizzly bear population to become a source for natural recolonization of the Bitterroot ecosystem rests largely on decisions made by Idaho. Instead of focusing on hunting, Idaho Department of Fish and Game and the Commission should focus on providing protections that support grizzly bear occupancy and movement outside the Demographic Monitoring Area (DMA) and drafting of a statewide management plan.”

Background:

The states of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming have updated regulations and management plans regarding post-delisting management of grizzly bears. While Idaho updated its regulations, their past grizzly bear plan is deficient, sorely out of date and limited to the Yellowstone grizzly bear population. This narrow focus disregards the fact that Idaho contains not only the Yellowstone grizzly bear ecosystem but also the Selkirk, Cabinet-Yaak and Bitterroot ecosystems. Idaho needs to have a statewide plan for grizzly bear management that has undergone the public review.

Current mortality levels in the Yellowstone grizzly bear population are too high to allow for additional sources of mortality of the core grizzly bear population or of bears living outside the key recovery area. This could threaten the core grizzly bear population and inhibit connectivity to other grizzly bear populations and natural recolonization of the Bitterroot ecosystem, currently without a bear population.

A primary factor limiting grizzly bear recovery is human-caused mortality. Bears die when they get into trouble with people’s garbage, because of livestock conflicts, when they are hit by cars and trains or from illegal killings. By preventing these conflicts through our coexistence efforts, Defenders of Wildlife is working to help both people and bears.

Historically, an estimated 50,000 grizzly bears roamed North America. By 1975, populations remained in only five small isolated locations in the lower 48 states, including the greater Yellowstone ecosystem where they were down to 136 bears at their lowest point.

Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With over 1.8 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 Newsroom.Defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.