Grizzly Bear Recovery an Endangered Species Act Success Story

Will Work to Ensure Plans Maintain Healthy, Stable Grizzly Populations

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today proposed to declare grizzly bears in and around Yellowstone National Park as no longer threatened by extinction and recovered under the Endangered Species Act. An estimated 717 grizzlies live in the Yellowstone ecosystem today, according to the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team. The National Wildlife Federation hailed the delisting as a major conservation success story in the making but urged a careful delisting process to make sure grizzlies continue to thrive.

“The recovery of Yellowstone grizzlies is a true American conservation success story and the proposal to ‘delist’ is the appropriate next step in the evolution of their restoration. We took a population of grizzlies that was heading down the path toward extinction, turned it around and now have a healthy, stable population of these magnificent creatures. It’s time to examine transitioning from federal management of grizzly bears under the Endangered Species Act to management by the states, just as other healthy wildlife populations are managed,” said Collin O’Mara, president and chief executive officer of the National Wildlife Federation. “Before we take that next step, we are committed to ensuring that adequate measures are in place to ensure grizzlies endure for generations to come. The National Wildlife Federation will work with the states of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho to ensure that the final plans maintain a healthy and stable population of grizzlies in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.”

The National Wildlife Federation has worked for decades to restore healthy grizzly bear populations. Our program to purchase grazing allotments from ranchers on National Forest lands surrounding Yellowstone Park has ended conflicts between grizzlies and domestic livestock on a million acres of land.

While grizzly bears once roamed much of western North America, populations now range across Alaska, western Canada, and the Northern Rocky Mountains including Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks and in northwestern Montana and extreme northern Idaho.

Grizzly bears can live to 30 years in the wild. Males can weigh up to 1,700 pounds, while females can weigh up to 800 pounds. Grizzlies are omnivores, eating fruits, berries, grasses, and roots, along with fish like salmon, rodents, carrion, and hoofed animals like moose, elk, caribou, and deer.

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