... because grizzlies are worth more alive than dead.
Due to Federal Judge Dana Christensen’s decision on September 24, 2018, grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) are once again protected from hunting under the Endangered Species Act. Management is returned to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service working in conjunction with western states. While the bears are currently protected, they will continue to be in danger as livestock groups and Congress keep trying to return management to the states which will open up trophy hunting once again. WWA believes unequivocally that allowing trophy hunting of these iconic species is wrong with the decision being made for the wrong reasons.
Among our most significant concerns are:
Grizzly mortality is too high;
too many bears are dying to make a delisted and hunted population sustainable.
The impacts of climate change
on grizzlies and their food sources has not been sufficiently analyzed or considered.
** Please visit our Resources Page for an extensive collection of the best and most recent science on grizzly bears of the GYE.
Two of the four traditional foods that grizzlies rely on have been seriously impacted by climate change, and a third is vulnerable, meaning bears now have to travel further to find enough to eat.
Whitebark Pine is functionally extinct in many areas of the GYE due to beetle infestations and blister rust, and the bears no longer get the benefit of this high-fat, high-protein food to fatten up before hibernation.
Cutthroat Trout have been almost completely displaced by invasive lake trout which dwell deeper than cutthroat trout and so are no longer available as a food source.
Army cutworm moths thrive on certain high-altitude plants; as higher elevations see shorter winters and warmer summers, conditions become more difficult for those plants.
For now, elk – the grizzlies’ fourth critical food source – are abundant in the GYE. However, it is only a matter of time before Chronic Wasting Disease is discovered in these herds. It’s unknown how the disease will impact these elk, but a large-scale die-off could spell further bad news for grizzlies.
Conflicts with Humans
As traditional food sources for grizzly bears diminish, they are forced to travel further to discover sufficient food for themselves and their cubs. Ranging outside of the National Parks can often mean traversing land that is used for grazing cattle, is home to humans, or is traversed by busy – and deadly – roads.
In 2016, a record number of grizzlies died as a result of conflicts with humans. Of a total 58 bears that died, nearly 70% of them were determined to be human-caused. In Jackson Hole alone, two young cubs were killed when they were hit by vehicles.
With so many bears dying, do they really need to face hunters, too?