Wyoming and Idaho plan to issue licenses for grizzly bear hunting in the greater Yellowstone area, which means bears that wander outside of National Park boundaries could be shot.
Yellowstone grizzly bears were removed from the endangered species list last year, even though their population declined in 2016. The bears’ habitat is threatened by climate change and human development.
Grizzly bears currently occupy less that 4% of their historic range, and hunting will keep bears from migrating to find mates.
Removal from the endangered species list also means that more bears will be killed by ranchers and farmers.
The Center for Biological Diversity, National Parks Conservation Association, Humane Society, Wild Earth Guardians, Sierra Club and the Northern Cheyenne Tribe have filed lawsuits to restore endangered species protection for Yellowstone’s grizzlies.
On the opposing side, lawyers from the National Rifle Association, Safari Club International and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation are pressuring the court to allow trophy hunting to proceed. A federal judge has scheduled a hearing on the case for August 2018.