It’s hard to imagine why anyone would want to hunt an endangered animal, but trophy hunting for these animals remains a major issue.
One of the biggest controversies has revolved around a decision by the Trump administration to remove protections for the grizzly bears in Yellowstone, making them open to trophy hunters.
But conservationists have long decried the move, saying that it will undo decades of efforts to restore the grizzly population.
Luckily, these bears are now protected once again following a recent court decision.
The Trump administration’s Interior Department’s Fish and Wildlife Service removed protections for the Yellowstone grizzlies back in 2017.
According to The Hill, the bears had been protected for four decades, and in that time had seen its population go from about 150 to 700.
The move was welcomed by Republicans and Wyoming Governor Matt Mead, who had been pushing for the removal of protections, but the decision drew fierce opposition from conservationists, who said the bears still required protection for their “ongoing recovery.”
“We cannot allow the decades of work and investment to save these bears go down the drain,” Jamie Rappaport Clark, president of Defenders of Wildlife, told The Hill.
However, they didn’t take the administration’s move lying down. Soon legal action was taken to protect the bears once again.
In September 2018, a Montana federal court voted to prohibit hunting the Yellowstone grizzly bears, however, the Fish and Wildlife Service appealed the order.
But this year, on July 8, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Yellowstone grizzlies must continue to be protected by the Endangered Species Act, once again making it illegal for them to be hunted.
“Because the 2017 rule’s conclusion that genetic health no longer poses a threat to the Yellowstone grizzly is without scientific basis, this conclusion is arbitrary and capricious,” Judge Schroeder, one of the three judges behind the move, wrote in their decision.
With the bears protected from trophy hunters once again, the victory was widely celebrated by environmental groups.
“This is a tremendous victory for all who cherish Yellowstone’s grizzly bears and for those who’ve worked to ensure they’re protected under the Endangered Species Act,” Andrea Zaccardi, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, told Green Matters.
“Grizzlies still have a long way to go before recovery. Hunting these beautiful animals around America’s most treasured national park should never again be an option.”
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