Safari Club defends grizzly delisting
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
November 11, 2007
Safari Club International and the Safari Club International Foundation will represent the hunting community in defending against a lawsuit that challenges the Endangered Species Act delisting of the grizzly bear in the Yellowstone area of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.
On November 7, 2007, Judge Edward J. Lodge of the U.S District Court in Idaho granted SCI’s request to participate as “amicus curiae,” or friend of the court. The court chose to allow SCI to participate as amicus, rather than as an intervenor, to allow SCI to help the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the states of Wyoming and Idaho, defend the FWS’s decision to delist the recovered grizzly bears of the Yellowstone area.
SCI’s goal is to prevent the grizzly bear from being returned to the ESA list. An ESA listing deprives the states of their management authority, including their ability to prevent adverse impacts on ungulate populations and to allow sustainable hunting in the future. Gaining “amicus” status allows SCI to emphasize the importance of basing wildlife management on science, and to voice the interests of the hunting community on the recovery of predator species.
SCI President Dennis Anderson reacted to SCI’s latest legal pursuit: “Through litigation efforts such as this one, SCI can support the grizzly recovery efforts of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the states of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. It is time for animal rights groups to acknowledge that the Endangered Species Act was never intended to be the ‘Endangered Species Forever Act.’ Grizzly bears are a symbol of the American west and their recovery in the Yellowstone area is a tremendous success story. Now the latest chapter of that story must include the restoration of state management authority over this predator species.”
It has been a long process since July 1975 when the grizzly bear was first listed as a threatened species in the lower 48 states. On March 29, 2007, after years of diligent wildlife management, the U.S. FWS announced that the distinct population segment living in and around Yellowstone was recovered.
SCI’s amicus status will help ensure that the Court recognizes the legality of the FWS’s decisions as well as the states’ need to assume responsibility for the continued success of the grizzly bear populations in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.