Managing the Bears

February 17, 2023

In 1974, the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) grizzly bear was on the brink of extinction. An estimated 136 roamed the habitat and were rapidly disappearing. The decision to add the grizzly bear to the Endangered Species List saved the species, and it is almost a perfect example of an Endangered Species Act success story. Almost. 

The year is 2023 and the GYE is recovered by every scientific measure. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the last three administrations has recommended its delisting, yet the decision keeps getting caught up in litigation brought by out-of-touch, out-of-state environmental extremists who do not live near the bears and whose livelihoods are not impacted by the bears. That is unacceptable. 

Just last month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced, once again, that the Greater Yellowstone grizzly was recovered and began the process of removing the grizzly from the Endangered Species List, and this time, I hope it sticks. 

To drive home the notion that those who know the bears best, the ones who live near them and interact with them, should be the ones who manage them, I reintroduced the Grizzly Bear State Management Act this week with Senators John Barrasso (R-WY), Jim Risch (R-ID), Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Steve Daines (R-MT). This legislation puts state wildlife scientists in charge of managing the GYE grizzly, which will benefit their populations for decades to come. 

The grizzlies are an important part of our ecosystem, and I want their population to thrive. This legislation makes that possible.