Federal officials are reviewing the June decision to take grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem off the endangered species list.
This comes after a court decision prevented the delisting of Western Great Lakes wolves. The court found that the service had not evaluated how delisting the Western Great Lake gray wolf could affect other populations of gray wolves still on the Endangered Species list.
Hilary Cooley, the Grizzly Bear recovery coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said there are similarities between the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem grizzly bear and the Western Great Lakes gray wolf.
“We attempted several years ago to delist wolves as a distinct population segment, and for Yellowstone we did the same thing with grizzly bears,” she said. “And because we didn't have the court opinion when we put the final rule out we just thought that we need to get some public comment to find out if there's anything that is relevant.”
The service will review how the delisting of grizzlies in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem could affect the bear’s population in its historical range throughout the lower 48. But Cooley emphasizes grizzlies in the Yellowstone region are still delisted, though the final ruling may get amended.
“But it's premature to say anything like that. We’re just starting to look at it ourselves and then we'll see what public comment says,” said Cooley.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will take public comments until January 5 at regulations.gov.