A judge has temporarily blocked the grizzly bear hunt around Yellowstone National Park and the Rockies two days before it began.
The federal judge yesterday retained the opening of the first grizzly bear hunts that will take place in the Rockies in more than 40 years.
District Judge Dana Christensen's order came just two days before Wyoming and Idaho prepared to begin the first brown bear hunting season in the area since 1974, which will begin tomorrow.
Yesterday's ruling was seen as a victory for wildlife advocates and native tribes who demanded the decision of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. UU In 2017 we lift the protections for 700 bears in Yellowstone National Park and surrounding areas.
A grizzly bear cub looks for fallen fruit under an apple tree just a few kilometers from the north entrance of Yellowstone National Park in Gardiner, Montana
Federal wildlife officials said the bears are thriving and do not need protection, but animal activists, acting as plaintiffs, argued that bears still face threats to their survival.
Judge Christensen wrote in his ruling: "The death threat to individual bears posed by scheduled hunting is enough to justify a delay in the hunting seasons of the state."
The judge will make a final decision about whether the hunt can be resumed in the future at a later date.
It would take less than two dozen bears in the hunts.
Mike Garrity, the executive director of the plaintiff Alliance for the Wild Rockies, said: "We are delighted, now the judge has time to govern without the grizzly bears being killed as of Saturday morning.
It would take less than two dozen bears in the hunts.
The frequent grizzlies attacks on cattle, the impact that bears have on deer and elk populations, as well as the threat that grizzlies pose to humans, were cited as reasons to hunt wild creatures.
A small group of grizzly bear defenders protest in front of the US District Court in Missoula, Montana, in an attempt to restore federal protections for a group of about 700 grizzly bears.
But Todd Hoese, an accountant and hunter from Gillette, Wyoming, expressed disappointment at Judge Christensen's decision and requested, but did not receive, a grizzly bear hunting tag.
He said: "They're just looking at it from the bears' perspective." The way nature works is a balance and we do not have that balance. There are too many bears now.
Before Christensen delivered Thursday's order, Wyoming officials said they were willing to make adjustments to the state's hunting season, but set a condition to do so.
Erik Petersen, Assistant Attorney General of Wyoming, suggested that the judge leave Wyoming, Montana and Idaho in charge of managing the bears.
He said: "The probability of any significant damage to the population is essentially zero."
A judge suspended the first season of grizzly bear hunting in the lower 48 states in more than four decades, which should have opened around Yellowstone National Park this weekend
Hunt's opponents claim that the decision of the US Fish and Wildlife Service last year that the Yellowstone grizzlies are no longer an endangered species was based on faulty science.
They also say that they do not trust that the three states that have taken over the management of the bear will guarantee the survival of the bears. They want the judge to re-classify the bears as threatened.
Among their arguments in court, defense and defense group advocates questioned how other grizzly populations in the 48 poorest states would fare if the status of Yellowstone bears changed.
They also said the federal wildlife agency ignored the recent spikes in overall bear deaths that, when hunting is added to the mix, could cause an unexpected population decline.
Justice Department attorneys said the Fish and Wildlife Service considered all the plaintiffs' arguments and proceeded to lift the protections because there was no threat of extinction for the bears now or in the foreseeable future.
Petersen and the attorneys representing Montana and Idaho said the worst affected people will be farmers and ranchers who live in grizzly territory and have increasing conflicts with bears attacking livestock.
The population of brown bears living in Yellowstone was classified as an endangered species in 1975, when their number had fallen to 136.
The Fish and Wildlife Service initially declared a successful recovery for the population of Yellowstone in 2007, but a federal judge ordered that the protections be maintained while wildlife officials studied whether the decline of a major source of food, the seeds of white pine, could threaten the survival of bears. .
In 2017, the federal agency concluded that it had addressed all threats and ruled that the grizzlies were no longer an endangered species that needed restrictive federal protections.
A grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, where hunts were to begin for the first time in 40 years until a judge temporarily blocked the opening of the season
That caused six demands that challenged the decision of the agency. Those lawsuits have been consolidated in a case that Christensen heard on Thursday.
The Idaho hunting quota is a bear, while Wyoming hunting is divided into two phases, including September 1, when hunting opens the season in a peripheral area with a 12-bear quota.
Then, two weeks later, the season begins in a primal pardinal habitat near the Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. A woman or nine men can be killed in those areas.
It would be the first grizzly hunt in Wyoming since 1974 and the first in Idaho since 1946.
Twelve hunters in Wyoming and one in Idaho have received licenses from the thousands who applied.
Montana officials decided not to hunt this year and the state conducted grizzly hunts until 1991 under an exemption from federal protections that allowed killing 14 bears each fall.
Bear hunting is not allowed in Yellowstone or Grand Teton.