The grizzly bears who share Yellowstone country with the last wild buffalo are in jeopardy of losing federal protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Forty years of ESA protection has failed to recover Yellowstone grizzly bears. Human-caused deaths are increasing and the population, isolated from other bears, is growing increasingly unstable.
Climate change is already threatening these great bears, in large part, because of its impact on critical food sources like whitebark pines, Yellowstone cutthroat trout, and army cutworm moths.
Buffalo and elk have always been an important food for Yellowstone grizzlies, but they are becoming even more critical with the rapid loss of other highly nutritious foods. This increased need for meat is also increasing encounters with hunters, resulting in more grizzly bears being killed.
If ESA protections are withdrawn, Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming will initiate “trophy” hunting, which will put Yellowstone grizzlies on the fast track to extinction.
Stronger federal protections, coupled with more buffalo on a larger landscape, would be a huge help to Yellowstone’s grizzlies. Trusted grizzly bear experts, scientists, and Native American tribes who hold the grizzly sacred are vehemently opposed to delisting, and Buffalo Field Campaign joins them in solidarity.
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