“With the grizzly bear recovered, keeping the species listed under the Endangered Species Act will only continue to impact communities, farmers and ranchers, and recreationists around the state,” he said. “It also limits Montana’s options when it comes to dealing with conflict bears.”
The state announced it will be petitioning the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to remove protections for grizzly bears in the NCDE. The move is being met with opposition from some groups.
Hunting of grizzly bears is illegal in the Lower 48 and is allowed only in Alaska, according to FWS.
“It’s very disappointing to see them moving forward with this,” Andrea Zaccardi, senior attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, told CNN. “It seems that Montana is taking a piecemeal approach to how they view grizzly bear recovery.”
For activists, the concern lies with the government.
“I don’t have any faith that Montana, right now at least, can responsibly manage their wildlife and especially predators such as grizzly bears,” Zaccardi told CNN.
The Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE) has seen a significant increase in grizzly bear population over several decades.
Those include limited habitat connectivity, management of access by motorized vehicles, human-cause mortality and uncertainty surrounding future conservation efforts in some ecosystems.
“We are hopeful the US Fish & Wildlife Service will take a close look and deny it,” Zaccardi says.
The FWS told CNN it has not yet received Montana’s petition and declined to comment further.
Source : CNN