The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission’s choice to move forward with a hazardous grizzly bear hunt immediately after delisting risks exceeding mortality limits in the core population and restricts the ability for grizzly bears to reoccupy historic habitat outside the Demographic Monitoring Area (DMA). This hunt will add unnecessary mortality to a population already experiencing high human-related grizzly bear deaths. WGFD should instead continue to focus on minimizing human-caused mortality through proactive conflict prevention, outreach and education while allowing the Yellowstone grizzly bear population to expand into historic habitat.
 
Jonathan Proctor, Rockies & Plains director at Defenders of Wildlife
LANDERS, Wyo.,
23
May
2018
|
11:06 PM
America/New_York

For Immediate Release

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

The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission approved Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s (WGFD) proposal to open a hunting season for Greater Yellowstone ecosystem grizzly bears in Wyoming in 2018, less than a year after their delisting.

On March 9, WGFD proposed allowing for the hunting of up to 23 grizzly bears, including females.

Jonathan Proctor, Rockies & Plains director at Defenders of Wildlife, issued this statement:

“The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission’s choice to move forward with a hazardous grizzly bear hunt immediately after delisting risks exceeding mortality limits in the core population and restricts the ability for grizzly bears to reoccupy historic habitat outside the Demographic Monitoring Area (DMA). This hunt will add unnecessary mortality to a population already experiencing high human-related grizzly bear deaths. WGFD should instead continue to focus on minimizing human-caused mortality through proactive conflict prevention, outreach and education while allowing the Yellowstone grizzly bear population to expand into historic habitat.”

Background:

The states of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho have updated regulations and management plans regarding post-delisting management of grizzly bears. Unfortunately, Wyoming’s plan falls short in supporting any expansion of the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem grizzly bear population.

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.

A primary factor limiting grizzly bear recovery is human-caused mortality. Bears die when they get into trouble with people’s garbage, livestock, when they are hit by cars and trains or illegally killed. 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.

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