May 23, 2018 | WWA Staff
This afternoon, the Wyoming Game & Fish Commission unanimously voted in favor of approving the proposed grizzly trophy hunt. Wyoming’s bears could be in hunters’ crosshairs by the fall of 2018.
As many as 22 bears could be killed in the state by this winter.
“Dan Thompson, large carnivore specialist for the Wyoming Game & Fish, was quoted on Wyoming Public Radio claiming that the label of ‘trophy hunt’ was somehow misleading,” says Executive Director Melissa Thomasma. “But that’s exactly what this is. Don’t make it sound like hunting a grizzly is somehow equivalent to killing an elk or deer to feed your family. People don’t eat grizzlies, just like they don’t eat lions or giraffes in Africa. It’s killing for sport, amusement and domination. It’s a trophy hunt.”
Outrage over the decision is pouring in from all corners of the country, and even beyond. Visitors who travel to Grand Teton and Yellowstone spend millions of dollars to experience the landscape and its wild inhabitants. Even a 1% decline in visitation numbers could translate into millions of dollars and hundreds of jobs lost. It’s clear that our grizzlies are worth far more alive than dead.
“Hunt supporters would like you to believe that the population of grizzlies has exploded over the past decade, but the fact of the mater is, that’s simply not true,” explains Roger Hayden, Conservation Director. “The population has been essentially stable since 2002, and the notion that it somehow requires ‘control’ is baseless. And ultimately, this hunt could have very serious negative ramifications for the region’s grizzly population.”
This decision is deeply disappointing, though not unexpected. Wyoming Wildlife Advocates has plans for next steps, and will continue diligently working to bring an end to this biologically, ethically and economically problematic hunt.
“Today’s decision sadly reinforces how critical our work is,” says Board President and Founder Kent Nelson. “It’s absolutely clear evidence that the way our wildlife is managed is fundamentally broken. More than ever, we need to stand up and protect our wild habitats and those unique species that depend on them. It’s time for meaningful change, and our organization is driving to achieve exactly that.”
Wyoming Wildlife Advocates wholly supports the efforts of those litigating against the hunt, especially the native nations who hold the grizzly in sacred regard.
Please follow WWA for the latest updates on our efforts to protect the state’s grizzly bears.