What the Elk?
Grizzly bears are threatened by hunting outfitters operating just outside the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park, say park ranger Bob Jackson and Utah State University ecologist Barrie Gilbert. Many of the outfitters are violating federal law by setting up artificial salt licks, which they use to lure elk outside park boundaries, where they can be shot. Grizzlies are then drawn to elk carcasses left by hunters who only want to take antlers home, and some grizzlies are meeting their deaths during surprise encounters with hunters. Though shooting a bear is illegal under the Endangered Species Act, hunters who claim self-defense are rarely charged with violating the act, even when they kill cubs. The federal government is moving toward taking grizzlies off the Endangered Species List, a step that many conservationists oppose, saying populations still need protection.