Since 1975 the grizzlies have been considered endangered everywhere outside of Alaska. Only 1,500 grizzlies call the lower 48 states home, 600 living in Montana, 700 hundred in the Yellowstone area, and the rest dispersed through Idaho and Washington. There are no grizzlies in the East; only black bears live here.
Last year, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service proposed delisting grizzlies in and around Yellowstone National Park. Grizzly populations have rebounded, and some argue that the Endangered Species Act protections of their critical habitat are no longer necessary. The estimated 700 grizzlies in Yellowstone exceeds the species recovery plan goal of 500.
Others against the delisting argue that the recover plan number is low and the critical habitat protections are more important than ever with increased hunting and development threats to grizzlies.
Grizzly bears used to roam much of the United States, roaming from Alaska to Mexico and as far East as the Hudson Bay. Clearly, this is not the same today. Grizzlies have the widest range of any bear, being found in the North America, Asia, Europe, and can be seen in North Africa and the Middle East. The bears have been pushed out of most of their native lands due to hunting, development, and the loss of habitat.
Is it time for the grizzlies in Yellostone to be removed from the Endangered Species list?
Read more here.