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Pinedale Online > News > January 2015 > Anti-Grazers Threaten Grizzly Lawsuit

1990 Map. Photo by WG&F.
1990 Map
Wyoming Game & Fish Department map depicting grizzly bear/human conflicts through 1990. Note the red line is the official grizzly bear recovery zone/primary conservation area.

2000 Map. Photo by WG&F.
2000 Map
Wyoming Game & Fish Department map depicting grizzly bear/human conflicts through 2000. Note the red line is the official grizzly bear recovery zone/primary conservation area.

2013 Map. Photo by WG&F.
2013 Map
Wyoming Game & Fish Department ap depicting grizzly bear/human conflicts through 2013. Note the red line is the official grizzly bear recovery zone/primary conservation area.
Anti-Grazers Threaten Grizzly Lawsuit
by Cat Urbigkit
January 22, 2015

Earthjustice attorneys, representing the Sierra Club and Western Watersheds Project, sent an official Notice of Intent to Sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and U.S. Forest Service over grizzly bear mortalities in the Upper Green River region of Sublette County. The notice is dated Jan. 14, 2015, and is a legal precursor to filing a lawsuit in federal district court.

The center of controversy is the recent FWS "No Jeopardy" determination that the potential "take" of 11 grizzly bears in a three-year period in connection with livestock grazing in the Upper Green River region of the Bridger-Teton National Forest does not jeopardize the continued existence of the species. Grizzly bears are classified as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

The letter notes that all nine Upper Green River grazing allotments occur within occupied grizzly bear habitat, and adds that this area "has been considered a grizzly bear conflict hotspot for several years." The groups stated that in 2013, more than a third of the grizzly bear mortalities in the Greater Yellowstone region occurred in the Upper Green, despite the fact that these allotments represent only 1.7 percent of the occupied grizzly bear habitat in the ecosystem.

The Upper Green allotments are located 25-miles outside the official grizzly bear recovery zone, which is now called the primary conservation area.

Indeed, as the grizzly bear population has expanded over the last few decades, conflicts in the region have increased despite aggressive measures to keep conflicts to a minimum.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has prepared maps demonstrating the increase in conflicts throughout the Yellowstone ecosystem as the grizzly bear population has expanded in the region. Once only seen in Yellowstone National Park, current trends in conflicts in Wyoming include roadside grizzlies, and family groups of bears in subdivisions and developed areas.

According to the state wildlife agency, with successful recovery comes increased opportunities for interactions and conflicts. Removal of grizzly bears involved in conflict situations target offending animals.

The complete 36-page Notice of Intent is linked below.



Related Links
  • Notice Of Intent To Sue - Earthjustice, (36 page, 1.74MB PDF)
  • Pinedale Online > News > January 2015 > Anti-Grazers Threaten Grizzly Lawsuit

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