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:
November 21, 2017
Gregory Elich
What is Behind the Military Coup in Zimbabwe?
Louisa Willcox
Rising Grizzly Bear Deaths Raise Red Flag About Delisting
David Macaray
My Encounter With Charles Manson
Patrick Cockburn
The Greatest Threats to the Middle East are Jared Kushner and Mohammed bin Salman
Stephen Corry
OECD Fails to Recognize WWF Conservation Abuses
James Rothenberg
We All Know the Rich Don’t Need Tax Cuts
Elizabeth Keyes
Let There be a Benign Reason For Someone to be Crawling Through My Window at 3AM!
L. Ali Khan
The Merchant of Weapons
Thomas Knapp
How to Stop a Rogue President From Ordering a Nuclear First Strike
Lee Ballinger
Trump v. Marshawn Lynch
Michael Eisenscher
Donald Trump, Congress, and War with North Korea
Tom H. Hastings
Reckless
Franklin Lamb
Will Lebanon’s Economy Be Crippled?
Linn Washington Jr.
Forced Anthem Adherence Antithetical to Justice
Nicolas J S Davies
Why Do Civilians Become Combatants In Wars Against America?
November 20, 2017
T.J. Coles
Doomsday Scenarios: the UK’s Hair-Raising Admissions About the Prospect of Nuclear War and Accident
Peter Linebaugh
On the 800th Anniversary of the Charter of the Forest
Patrick Bond
Zimbabwe Witnessing an Elite Transition as Economic Meltdown Looms
Sheldon Richman
Assertions, Facts and CNN
Ben Debney
Plebiscites: Why Stop at One?
LV Filson
Yemen’s Collective Starvation: Where Money Can’t Buy Food, Water or Medicine
Thomas Knapp
Impeachment Theater, 2017 Edition
Binoy Kampmark
Trump in Asia
Curtis FJ Doebbler
COP23: Truth Without Consequences?
Louisa Willcox
Obesity in Bears: Vital and Beautiful
Deborah James
E-Commerce and the WTO
Ann Garrison
Burundi Defies the Imperial Criminal Court: an Interview with John Philpot
Robert Koehler
Trapped in ‘a Man’s World’
Stephen Cooper
Wiping the Stain of Capital Punishment Clean
Weekend Edition
November 17, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Thank an Anti-War Veteran
Andrew Levine
What’s Wrong With Bible Thumpers Nowadays?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
The CIA’s House of Horrors: the Abominable Dr. Gottlieb
Wendy Wolfson – Ken Levy
Why We Need to Take Animal Cruelty Much More Seriously
Mike Whitney
Brennan and Clapper: Elder Statesmen or Serial Fabricators?
David Rosen
Of Sex Abusers and Sex Offenders
Ryan LaMothe
A Christian Nation?
Dave Lindorff
Trump’s Finger on the Button: Why No President Should Have the Authority to Launch Nuclear Weapons
W. T. Whitney
A Bizarre US Pretext for Military Intrusion in South America
Deepak Tripathi
Sex, Lies and Incompetence: Britain’s Ruling Establishment in Crisis 
Howard Lisnoff
Who You’re Likely to Meet (and Not Meet) on a College Campus Today
Roy Morrison
Trump’s Excellent Asian Adventure
John W. Whitehead
Financial Tyranny
Ted Rall
How Society Makes Victimhood a No-Win Proposition
Jim Goodman
Stop Pretending the Estate Tax has Anything to do With Family Farmers
Thomas Klikauer
The Populism of Germany’s New Nazis
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail