Wyoming Stock Growers Association Welcomes Grizzly Bear Action
The Wyoming Stock Growers Association welcomed the announcement by US Fish & Wildlife Service Director Dan Ash that initiates the formal process of delisting the grizzly bear in the Yellowstone region. The proposed delisting rule comes at a time when grizzly bear populations are fully recovered with as many as 1,000 bears in the region. Meanwhile ranchers in northwestern Wyoming have seen a steady increase in the loss of cattle and sheep to bear predation.
WSGA praises Wyoming Governor Matt Mead and the Wyoming Game & Fish Department for their relentless efforts to secure federal action on delisting. The Department has spent millions of dollars on grizzly management over the years that the bear has been listed under the Endangered Species Act.
WSGA Executive Vice President Jim Magagna noted that the grizzly had been deemed recovered and was delisted in 2007 only to be relisted two years later when a Montana judge determined that the FWS had failed to fully consider the impact of the decline in Whitebark pine, deemed to be a primary food source for the bear. Since that time, the FWS has been reluctant to move forward with a new delisting rule.
Magagna emphasized that announcement of the new delisting proposal is only a first step in returning full management of the bear to the state. “WSGA will be carefully reviewing every aspect of the proposed rule during the 60 day comment period. We will, in particular, focus on assuring that the state is given the needed flexibility to fully address impacts on livestock producers through removal of problem bears.”
Only hours after the FWS announcement, Magagna joined Representative Albert Sommers, prime sponsor, and others at an event at which Governor Mead signed a Joint Resolution of the Wyoming Legislature calling on the federal government to participate in adequately funding management of grizzly bears and wolves by the state.