Grizzlies win protection in U.S. court
Nov 28, 2011
Yellowstone grizzly bears will still be protected under the Endangered Species Act thanks to a ruling by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals recently, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The ruling was a victory for conservationists trying to save "one of the American West's most iconic animals" after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided to delist the species in 2007. The bears are the second after polar bears to earn protection because of harm caused to them by global warming - the court stated that climate change has accelerated a beetle infestation that destroys the bears' whitebark pine food source.
"Based on the evidence of a relationship between reduced whitebark pine seed availability, increased grizzly mortality to reduced grizzly reproduction, it is logical to conclude that an overall decline in the region's whitebark pine population would have a negative effect on its grizzly bear population," wrote Richard Tallman, a member of the three-judge panel which gave the verdict, according to AFP.
Mike Clark, executive director of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, a conservation group working to protect the grizzly and its environment, said that it is important that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recognize the way that the demise of the whitebark pine impacts grizzlies, the news source reports.