Target: Director Dan Ashe, U.S Fish and Wildlife Service
Goal: Don’t take grizzly bears off of the threatened species list and allow them to be hunted.
The federal government hopes to take grizzly gears off of the threatened species list this year and lift the hunting ban on them. The government believes that grizzly bear populations have grown enough to sustain itself. However, many animal conservation groups claim that the population has instead plateaued, and that it’s too soon to allow hunting. Once the bears are delisted, the management of Yellowstone grizzlies will shift from federal government to state government.
When the law was first put into place, as few as 136 bears roamed the Yellowstone National Park. At the time, grizzly bears had been hunted, trapped, and poisoned to near extinction. Many hunters and ranchers, who have strong political power in Western states, strongly advocated the delisting of grizzly bears and argue that their increasing numbers threaten humans, livestock, and other big-game animals. Environmentalists say that the grizzly bear’s recovery could falter if the government doesn’t supply protection. They have even stated that climate change will cause the key food source for the bears to decline. Sign the petition below to urge the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service to keep grizzly bears protected.
Dear Director Ashe,
The future of the grizzly bear is too uncertain to lift the hunting ban now. Climate change still poses a threat to these animals and hunters may once again drive them to near extinction. Many environmental groups have stated that the population of grizzly bears has plateaued, and it isn’t certain whether or not these bears will survive if their primary food source, whitebark pine, continues to decline. The Yellowstone grizzly bear is an isolated species that is still experiencing conflicts with people.
The Endangered Species Act has been tremendously successful in preventing the demise of grizzly bears since it was first established in 1975, and it’s important to retain those same protections until the grizzly has a stable future. In 2007, the Fish and Wildlife Service removed the grizzly bear from the threatened species list. At that time, it was also thought that the grizzly could successfully sustain itself. However, after seeing that the grizzly still couldn’t survive on its own, the decision was overturned. I fear that the same mistake is being made again. I ask that you don’t take grizzly bears off the threatened species list.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Matthias Breiter