Grizzly Bears No Longer "Threatened and Endangered"

Thursday, March 22, 2007

After nearly disappearing three decades ago, grizzly bears are thriving in the Yellowstone ecosystem and no longer need the protection of the Endangered Species Act, Deputy Interior Secretary Lynn Scarlett announced today.

“The grizzly’s remarkable comeback is the result of years of intensive cooperative recovery efforts between federal and state agencies, conservation groups, and individuals,” Scarlett said. “There is simply no way to overstate what an amazing accomplishment this is. The grizzly is a large predator that requires a great deal of space, and conserving such animals is a challenge in today’s world. I believe all Americans should be proud that, as a nation, we had the will and the ability to protect and restore this symbol of the wild.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is removing the Yellowstone population of grizzly bears from its status as “threatened” on the U.S. list of threatened and endangered species. Four other grizzly populations in the lower 48 states have not yet recovered and will continue to be protected as threatened species under the Act.

Grizzly numbers in the Yellowstone ecosystem have increased from an estimated population of 136 to 312 when they were listed as threatened in 1975, to more than 500 bears today.

Yellowstone grizzlies will now be managed under a comprehensive conservation strategy developed by state and federal scientists and managers that includes intensive monitoring of Yellowstone bears, their food, and their habitat. The conservation strategy incorporates the best available science and allows state and federal agencies to adjust management in response to new scientific information or environmental and bear population changes. State and federal managers will continue to work cooperatively under this framework to manage and maintain healthy grizzly bear populations throughout the Greater Yellowstone area.

“This comprehensive conservation strategy, agreed to by all state and federal players involved in grizzly recovery, will ensure that the future of the bear remains bright,” Scarlett noted.

The Yellowstone grizzly bear was listed as a threatened species because of loss of habitat and high mortality resulting from conflicts with humans. An interagency scientific study team was formed in 1973, and over the years the Yellowstone grizzlies have become the most intensely studied bear population in the world. In the 1980’s a multi-agency team, the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC), was established. The IGBC managed bear mortality and habitat, worked to build public support, and helped develop adequate regulatory mechanisms for the bears. The IGBC includes the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, USDA Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, state wildlife agencies of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Washington; and the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta. Universities and private organizations have contributed to the study and conservation of the Yellowstone grizzlies as well.

Since the early 1990s, the Yellowstone population has grown at a rate of 4 percent to 7 percent per year. Grizzly range in the Yellowstone Ecosystem has increased 48 percent since they were listed, and biologists have sighted bears more than 60 miles from what was once thought to be the outer limits of their range

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to delist grizzly bears in the Yellowstone ecosystem in November 2005. The proposal was reviewed at four open houses and two public hearings; more than 193,500 public comments were received.

Notification of the delisting of the Yellowstone population of grizzly bears will be published in the Federal Register in the near future. More information about today’s announcement can be found at http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/species/mammals/grizzly/yellowstone.htm

Grizzly bears are generally larger and heavier than other bears. They can be distinguished from black bears by longer, curved claws, humped shoulders and a face that appears to be concave. A wide range of coloration from light brown to nearly black is common. The bear’s coat features longer guard hairs over a dense mat of underfur with tips that are usually silver or golden in color - hence the name “grizzly.” In the lower 48 states, the average weight of grizzly bears is generally 400 to 600 pounds for males and 250 to 350 pounds for females. They generally live to be approximately 25 years old, although some wild bears have lived over 35 years.
Grizzlies are opportunistic feeders and will consume almost any available food including living or dead mammals or fish, grasses, roots, bulbs, tubers and fungi. The distribution and abundance of these grizzly bear foods vary naturally among seasons and years.

Biologists believe the Yellowstone area grizzly population and other remaining grizzly bear populations in the lower 48 states and Canada are markedly separate from each other, with no evidence of interaction with other populations. There are approximately 1,100 to 1,200 grizzly bears in the lower 48 states, in five separate populations in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and Washington. In addition to the Yellowstone area, grizzlies also occur in the Northern Continental Divide ecosystem, where grizzly populations are stable or increasing and number 400 to 500 bears; in the Selkirk ecosystem where there are 40 to 50 bears; in the Cabinet-Yaak ecosystem, with 30 to 40 bears; and in the Northern Cascade ecosystem where there are approximately 5 bears.


Outdoor Chattanooga News And Events

Here are upcoming news and events from Outdoor Chattanooga: Introduction to Mountain Biking: Skills Class Sept. 6, 9, 16 & 20 Mountain biking is so much more than just riding your bike in the woods! Outdoor Chattanooga's Introduction to Mountain Biking Program offers formal instruction to those that are new to the sport, or who want to get more out of riding. We invite ... (click for more)

Wildlife Officer Of The Year Awards Announced In East Tennessee

TWRA has named Officers Jeff Roberson and David Carpenter as Wildlife Officers of the Year in their respective law enforcement districts in East Tennessee. Receiving the honor in TWRA Law Enforcement District 41, Jeff Roberson is an eight-year veteran who has repeatedly excelled in his duties and responsibilities as a wildlife officer. Officer Roberson has also on two previous ... (click for more)

State Board In Nashville Approves New Erlanger Behavioral Health Hospital

Members of the board of the Tennessee Health Services and Development Agency in Nashville on Wednesday unanimously approved a new $25 million Behavioral Health Hospital planned by Erlanger Health Systems on Holzclaw Avenue.   Parkridge Valley Hospital and CADAS had opposed the issuance of Certificate of Need.  The 88-bed facility will provide "acute adult inpatient ... (click for more)

Pinkston Says Offer Was Made To Dismiss Lawsuit Against Him If Prosecution Of Detective Burns Was Dropped; Judge Greenholtz "Greatly Bothered" By Any Such Offer

District Attorney Neal Pinkston said at a hearing Tuesday that an offer was made to drop a lawsuit filed against him by Gatlinburg detective Rodney Burns if he would dismiss two perjury counts against Burns. The district attorney said he should not be disqualified from continuing to prosecute the case or else attorneys would begin suing him or the judge to get a new DA or trial ... (click for more)

Downtown Needs Cleaned Up

My son and I parked on Broad Street and walked to the Billiard Club on Cherry Street this past weekend. It's probably a total of two blocks. In that short walk we passed where Rone Regency used to be on 6th Street and in that doorway was about a years worth of human feces and urine covering the doors and walls. The concrete sidewalk on the street is all broken up and the metal ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Ooltewah & The Bullies

During the week of Christmas I got an email from a longtime friend at the Knoxville News-Sentinel that laughingly wondered what kind of basketball do you people play (in Chattanooga?) It included sketchy details of the rape, and subsequent surgery, of an Ooltewah High School basketball player who had been assaulted by his own teammates at a Gatlinburg holiday tournament. Today ... (click for more)