CASPER, Wyo. — In January 2022, the State of Wyoming, under Governor Mark Gordon’s leadership, petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to delist the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, or GYE, grizzly bear population.
Today, the service has completed its initial review of that petition and found that the grizzly bear in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem may warrant removal from the list of endangered and threatened wildlife.
The service will now initiate a 12-month status review of the GYE grizzly bear. If the removal of the GYE grizzly bear is warranted, management authority will be given to Wyoming.
“This is a positive step and I thank the service. Wyoming’s petition, filed early last year, shows that — after 46 years, and over $52 million dollars of investment by Wyoming sportsmen and women — the population of the bear is far above long-established recovery goals,” Gordon said. “In addition, Wyoming has an established framework to provide adequate protection and management of the bear in the future. I trust the FWS will continue to use the best scientific evidence, and I hope that Wyoming will soon manage this species as part of our treasured wildlife populations.”
Wyoming already has a grizzly bear management plan in place, and it will be amended to recognize the necessary legal requirements to satisfy the Endangered Species Act requirements for post-delisting management.
“Director Nesvik and I will be discussing timelines and next steps with the Fish and Wildlife Service and senior Department of Interior officials in the next several days,” Gordon said.
Today, there is an expanding number of grizzly bears that have grown beyond the edges of the bear’s biological and socially suitable range. With refined population estimates, data show the population numbers more than 1,000 bears, far beyond all scientific requirements for a recovered, viable population.
“Game and Fish stands ready to manage this population with robust public involvement and the best science at a moment’s notice,” said Game and Fish Director Brian Nesvik. “Game and Fish has a strong track record of managing grizzly bears during the times they have been delisted in the past.”