The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to remove endangered species protection for the Yellowstone grizzly. This is a bad idea due to the declining number of cubs that are surviving to become adults and the flatlining of the grizzly’s population growth. Grizzlies reproduce very slowly, having just one or two cubs every three years. The Yellowstone grizzlies have lost two of their most important foods, whitebark pine nuts and cutthroat trout. As the bears seek meat to replace these important foods, the conflicts with livestock will increase — leading to more grizzly deaths.
Instead of recognizing the seriousness of the threats facing the grizzly population, their proposal will allow states to exceed the maximum number of bear deaths for years before a review of the declining population would take place. That would mean that grizzlies would be in dire straits before any emergency action could be taken. I urge the Fish and Wildlife Service to reconsider this proposal and act instead to ensure a future for grizzly bears in the Rocky Mountain region. We need our top predator to keep the ecosystem healthy. Seeing them in the Lamar Valley down by the river is a precious memory for me.
Pam Conley, Boise