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USFWS opens public comment period on grizzly delisting after federal court opinion on gray wolves

Grizzly sow and cub. (YNP/Jim Peaco file photo)

DENVER- The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service is taking public feedback on a recent federal court ruling that could impact the delisting of Yellowstone Ecosystem grizzly bears.

In a recent case involving the delisting of a distinct population of gray wolves in the Western Great Lakes area, the court found government wildlife managers did not evaluate how their decision could impact other wolf populations still protected and what effect the loss of historic range might have on the species.

The USFWS says the opinion in that case could affect the government’s June 30th delisting of Yellowstone area grizzly bears because those bears, like the Western Great Lakes gray wolves, are considered a distinct population.

Federal wildlife managers are currently taking public comment on whether the ruling impacts the bears’ delisting and what if any further evaluation wildlife officials should consider in regards to other grizzly bear populations in the lower 48 states.

The public comment period is open until Jan. 5. Comments can be submitted through the government’s e-portal: http://www.regulations.gov or by sending a hard copy to:

Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R6–ES–2017–0089;
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Headquarters, MS: BPHC, 5275
Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041–3803.

The USFWS expects to notify the public of its conclusions by March 31, 2018.