Yellowstone-area grizzly bears lose Endangered Species Act protection

The U.S. Interior Department will remove Yellowstone-area grizzlies from Endangered Species Act protection, putting management of bears that live outside the park in the hands of state officials in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. And by “management,” of course, we mean killin’. The region’s bear count has swelled from under 200 to about 600 since the omnivore was listed in the mid-1970s, a rebound Deputy Interior Secretary Lynn Scarlett calls “amazing.” But some say it’s too soon to leave the bear to its own devices. “We’re going to take action to fight this,” said Louisa Willcox of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “It’s ill conceived and premature.” Meanwhile, politicians took swipes at the slow-moving ESA process, arguing for automatic delisting when species numbers reach set goals. “With a set trigger for delisting, we could avoid this bureaucratic and legal jumble that ties the hands of land and wildlife managers for decades,” said Sen. Craig Thomas (R-Wyo.). Trigger! See how he did that?