Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee ponders what's next

Posted: Dec 7, 2011

Written by

ROB CHANEY, The Missoulian
Grizzly bears

As the Rocky Mountain grizzly bear population grows, its managers have encountered something of a vision problem: They're not sure what success looks like.

The federal government has considered the grizzly a threatened species since 1975. For the past 26 years, the IGBC has yoked together virtually every state, federal and local grizzly bear advocate to reduce that threat. Now it faces an intersection of science and politics where the road map doesn't point a clear path.

But they also won't tolerate removing the grizzly from federal Endangered Species Act protection without a lot of court battles. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service just drew a split decision from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on its plan to delist the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem's bear population.

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