FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Real Grizzly Bear Recovery

by

In the Dec. 12 Missoulian (“Sound grizzly bear management”) Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Director Jeff Hagener made the claim that grizzlies in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem were recovered and it was time to delist them from Endangered Species Act protections and return them to state management.

Hagener made his case based upon the following claims:

+ Populations in both areas have rebounded significantly in both ecosystems – 700 in the GYE, and nearly 1,000 in the NCDE – making this one of the greatest conservation success stories.

+ Both ecosystems have reached all their required recovery goals under the ESA.

+ The ESA allows grizzlies to be recovered/delisted one ecosystem or distinct population segment at a time.

+ FWP is committed to management plans that will keep the populations healthy while allowing us more “flexibility” in bear management.

With the exception of the first statement, the rest is the same federal/state “spin control” the agencies have been trying to sell the public for decades – long on politics, but short on science. The reality is quite different:

1/ Independent scientists – those not drinking the agency Kool-Aid – have long agreed that a minimum population of 2,500-3,000 bears will be needed spanning all six recovery areas with habitat linkages between them. We currently have just 1,800 grizzlies, with 95 percent concentrated in the GYE and NCDE, no science-based plans to link the populations, and no active recovery efforts in two of the largest ecosystems. The ESA requires use of the “best available scientific and commercial data,” not the fabricated recovery goals of the 1993 Recovery Plan, or the politically driven goals of recent “conservation” strategies.

2/ Since none of the recovery areas can hold a recovered population of 2,500-3,000 by itself, it is by definition not biologically possible to recover/delist one ecosystem or DPS at a time, and FWP is well aware that federal courts have already stated as much.

3/ Before delisting can take place, the ESA requires that threats to habitat or range must be alleviated; excessive mortalities must be reduced to biologically sustainable levels; and adequate regulatory mechanisms must be in place to maintain recovery post-delisting.

Yet immediately upon delisting, large areas of occupied habitat will see significant reductions in protection; mortalities – already excessive in the GYE – will be allowed to increase; and protective regulations will be dramatically weakened – all in violation of ESA delisting criteria, as well as common sense.

4/ Given the above, the FWP commitment to “management plans that will keep the populations healthy” simply doesn’t pass the straight-face test. In reality, the state has been chomping at the bit to take back grizzly management from the feds so they can get back to hunting the great bear and appeasing grizzly opponents. In fact, in Greater Yellowstone, Montana, Wyoming and Idaho have already divided up the bear body count that each will receive post-delisting. So much for following the science and protecting Montana’s iconic state animal.

Brian Peck is an independent wildlife consultant who lives in Columbia Falls.

This column originally appeared in the Missoulian.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
March 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump is Obama’s Legacy: Will this Break up the Democratic Party?
Eric Draitser
Donald Trump and the Triumph of White Identity Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nothing Was Delivered
Andrew Levine
Ryan’s Choice
Joshua Frank
Global Coal in Freefall, Tar Sands Development Drying Up (Bad News for Keystone XL)
Anthony DiMaggio
Ditching the “Deep State”: The Rise of a New Conspiracy Theory in American Politics
Rob Urie
Boris and Natasha Visit Fantasy Island
John Wight
London and the Dreary Ritual of Terrorist Attacks
Paul Buhle
The CIA and the Intellectuals…Again
David Rosen
Why Did Trump Target Transgender Youth?
Vijay Prashad
Inventing Enemies
Ben Debney
Outrage From the Imperial Playbook
M. Shadee Malaklou
An Open Letter to Duke University’s Class of 2007, About Your Open Letter to Stephen Miller
Michael J. Sainato
Bernie Sanders’ Economic Advisor Shreds Trumponomics
Lawrence Davidson
Moral Failure at the UN
Pete Dolack
World Bank Declares Itself Above the Law
Nicola Perugini - Neve Gordon
Israel’s Human Rights Spies
Patrick Cockburn
From Paris to London: Another City, Another Attack
Ralph Nader
Reason and Justice Address Realities
Ramzy Baroud
‘Decolonizing the Mind’: Using Hollywood Celebrities to Validate Islam
Colin Todhunter
Monsanto in India: The Sacred and the Profane
Louisa Willcox
Grizzlies Under the Endangered Species Act: How Have They Fared?
Norman Pollack
Militarization of American Fascism: Trump the Usurper
Pepe Escobar
North Korea: The Real Serious Options on the Table
Brian Cloughley
“These Things Are Done”: Eavesdropping on Trump
Sheldon Richman
You Can’t Blame Trump’s Military Budget on NATO
Carol Wolman
Trump vs the People: a Psychiatrist’s Analysis
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Marines to Kill Desert Tortoises
Stanley L. Cohen
The White House . . . Denial and Cover-ups
Farhang Jahanpour
America’s Woes, Europe’s Responsibilities
Joseph Natoli
March Madness Outside the Basketball Court
Bill Willers
Volunteerism; Charisma; the Ivy League Stranglehold: a Very Brief Trilogy
Bruce Mastron
Slaughtered Arabs Don’t Count
Ayesha Khan
The Headscarf is Not an Islamic Compulsion
Pauline Murphy
Unburied Truth: Exposing the Church’s Iron Chains on Ireland
Ron Jacobs
Music is Love, Music is Politics
Christopher Brauchli
Prisoners as Captive Customers
Robert Koehler
The Mosque That Disappeared
Franklin Lamb
Update from Madaya
Dan Bacher
Federal Scientists Find Delta Tunnels Plan Will Devastate Salmon
Barbara Nimri Aziz
The Gig Economy: Which Side Are You On?
Louis Proyect
What Caused the Holodomor?
Max Mastellone
Seeking Left Unity Through a Definition of Progressivism
Charles R. Larson
Review: David Bellos’s “Novel of the Century: the Extraordinary Adventure of Les Misérables”
David Yearsley
Ear of Darkness: the Soundtracks of Steve Bannon’s Films
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail