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Yellowstone Grizzly Bears Now Safe From Trophy Hunters After Court Overrules Trump

Yellowstone Grizzly Bears Now Safe From Trophy Hunters After Court Overrules Trump

The court overturned a decision to strip the bears of protections under the Endangered Species Act

Amelia Ward

Amelia Ward

A court has overruled Donald Trump's decision to allow grizzly bears to be killed by trophy hunters, meaning the animals are now safe in Greater Yellowstone.

A few months after the president took office, he removed the majestic creatures from the list of endangered species, meaning they could be hunted. The move was initially proposed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service during the Obama administration.

But a federal court of appeal ruled that Trump's actions were illegal and they're now once again protected under the Endangered Species Act.

Until 2017, grizzlies had been on the protected list for upwards of 40 years, when the Trump administration decided that conservation efforts had successfully replenished the population of the bears. It meant that Yellowstone National Park was now open to hunters in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.

But conservationists and Native American tribes tried to point out that grizzlies are still at risk, taking it to a Montana federal court. In September 2018, the court decided to disallow the hunting of Yellowstone grizzly bears.

Trump's Fish and Wildlife Service wouldn't back down though, quickly appealing the district court's order.

But this week, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals - a federal court that can override court decisions - ended the saga, overriding Trump's wishes and rejecting the appeal and upholding the 2018 decision.

PA

And to really hammer its decision home, the court also said that the Fish and Wildlife Service didn't use accurate science to make its decision. It said they did not have enforceable systems in place to protect the genetic health of grizzly bears.

It also said that the animals are an 'iconic symbol of the Rocky Mountain west'.

The court's decision was made by a panel of three judges, two of which were appointed by Barack Obama.

PA

One of them wrote: "Because the 2017 rule's conclusion that genetic health no longer poses a threat to the Yellowstone grizzly is without scientific basis, this conclusion is arbitrary and capricious."

Andrea Zaccardi, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement sent to Green Matters: "This is a tremendous victory for all who cherish Yellowstone's grizzly bears and for those who've worked to ensure they're protected under the Endangered Species Act.

"Grizzlies still have a long way to go before recovery. Hunting these beautiful animals around America's most treasured national park should never again be an option."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: US News