By Molly Messick
Laramie, Wy –
Two years after Yellowstone's grizzly bears were removed from the endangered species list, record numbers have been killed by hunters. The Executive Director of the Wyoming Wildlife Federation Walt Gasson says that's in part because people have been moving into the Grizzlies habitat.
"I think it's inarguable the grizzly bears have been expanding their range in Wyoming for a number of years now. I think it's also fair to say that humans are occupying places in Wyoming on a permanent basis that they have not occupied on a permanent basis in anyone's lifetime."
Gasson calls the situation "ripe for conflict." Wildlife officials say that out of 71 grizzly bear deaths recorded last year in the Yellowstone region, 48 were caused by people. Wildlife officials say a second year of high mortality among Yellowstone grizzlies would trigger a re-evaluation of the bear's endangered status.