Yellowstone grizzlies no longer threatened, Bush administration argues

Hey, Boo-Boo, Yellowstone’s grizzlies may be removed from the endangered species list if the Interior Department has its way. In a proposal unveiled today, the Bush administration notes that bear numbers in the park have tripled to more than 600 over the past 30-odd years of listing, and are growing 4 to 7 percent annually. Conservationists are split on the plan. “We would love to see the grizzly bear delisted,” says Louisa Wilcox of the Natural Resources Defense Council, “but it’s not ready.” She notes that the Bush proposal could open up a third of the bears’ current habitat to energy or other development. Others worry that Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, which would take over species management, plan to greenlight bear hunts. But the National Wildlife Federation’s Sterling Miller thinks it’s time to delist. “You can’t immunize them against everything bad that can possibly happen. That’s a prescription for a permanent listing.” The proposal is now subject to a 90-day public-comment period; a final decision will be made next year.