GYE grizzly relisting appeals continue

This week’s announcement

that the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

grizzly bear population is relisted as an

“endangered” species is just a formality –

the animals were returned to U.S. Fish and

Wildlife Service management by a Montana

judge almost 11 months ago.

In the meantime, that Montana U.S.

District Court Sept. 24 order relisting GYE

grizzlies to the Endangered Species Act is

still being challenged in the Ninth Circuit

Court of Appeals in California.

“They were effectively relisted the day

last September when the judge issued his

decision,” said Wyoming Game and Fish

Director Brian Nesvik. “According to the

(FWS), this aligns the code of federal regulations

in line with the judge’s decision. For

all intents and purposes, they were relisted

last September.”

Judge Dana Christensen’s 2018 ruling

came as the result of a conservation coalition’s

filing of a lawsuit against the federal

agency to block their delisting.

“There is still an appeal and it will play

out over the next year or so,” said Nesvik.

“Wyoming is joined this appeal several

months ago. Decisions by the circuit court

of appeals could change the legal status of

grizzlies, but while the litigation is pending,

they are officially listed as threatened under

the ESA.”

Management of the GYE grizzly population

continues with state and federal management

collaboration. The FWS declared GYE

grizzlies “recovered” and delisted them on

June 30, 2017. Six lawsuits were filed in Missoula,

Mont., and Chicago against the agency’s

decision and consolidated in Montana as

the Crow Indian Tribe et al’s suit against the

United States.

The parties and interveners appealing

Judge Christensen’s ruling include the states

of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, Sportsmen’s

Alliance Foundation, Rocky Mountain

Elk Foundation, Wyoming Farm Bureau

Federation, U.S. Department of the Interior,

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Rifle

Association, Wyoming Stock Growers Association,

Charles C. Price and W&M Thoman

Ranches, LLC., according to court records.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ briefs

and replies are scheduled for summer and autumn



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