Grizzly bears in Wyoming and elsewhere in Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem coming off endangered species list
The recovery of grizzly bears in Wyoming and the entire Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem has exceeded all goals. In just over a month, grizzly bears will come off the endangered species list and management will return to Wyoming, the other states and tribes.

“Grizzly bears have met or exceeded recovery objectives since 2003 and have long warranted delisting. In 2013, I asked Secretary Salazar to delist the grizzly bears and much work toward this end has been done. I appreciate that the FWS is proceeding now with the delisting,” Governor Matt Mead said. “The Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team, which includes the FWS and Wyoming Game and Fish, must be commended for its years of great work. Thanks to the team effort, grizzlies will be managed appropriately by our experts at Game and Fish. I thank all involved in the delisting effort.”

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced on June 22, 2017 that it is returning management to the state and removing grizzly bears from the endangered species list. More information on that announcement is available here. 

Wyoming has been investing in and actively working on grizzly bear conservation for decades. The State of Wyoming has spent $45 million on grizzly bear recovery and management while the species has been on the endangered species list. This action by the Service will change little when it becomes official. The action is official 30 days after the Service’s delisting rule is published in the federal register. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has been leading monitoring and management of bears, but always does so with approval by the Service. Going forward, the monitoring and management will be guided by Wyoming Grizzly Bear Management Plan and existing monitoring and management efforts will continue.

“The recovery of grizzly bears is a success all of us can celebrate. It took an incredible amount of commitment and work by diverse interests to get to such a healthy and viable population of bears in the Greater Yellowstone Area. Game and Fish thanks all of those people who have contributed to this achievement,” said Scott Talbott, Director of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. 

Wyoming, Montana and Idaho all have worked together with partners to have strong management plans in place for this moment. Wyoming’s plan is available online. All the states have many mechanisms in place that ensure grizzly bear populations will remain above recovery criteria and the species will never again need federal protections. The states have also signed onto an agreement that details how they will coordinate their management efforts.  

The population estimate inside the Demographic Monitoring Area is estimated conservatively at 690 bears at this time. Wyoming has the largest share of the bear population.

Any consideration of hunting grizzly bears in Wyoming will come after a public discussion allowing for ample time to take input. 

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