Joel Connelly: Protection still crucial for grizzly recovery. Seattle P-I.

The lawsuit over the delisting of the grizzly bear in the Greater Yellowstone is still out there, and going to the 9th circuit. Interesting, because  I wasn’t aware that the district court had rulled against the plaintiffs.

Connelly’s column isn’t about that, however. It’s about the habitat threats the griz faces.

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Note: Connelly is the Post-Intelligencer’s leading columnist.

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

2 Responses to Protection still crucial for grizzly recovery

  1. avatar jerry b says:

    Anyone have info on the district court ruling? I also wasn’t aware they ruled against the plaintiffs.

  2. avatar Chuck Parker says:

    2 issues to consider. One, Ph.D. wildlife biologist Chuck Jonkel with the Great Bear Foundation has long noted that you can’t have more bears than you have bear habitat–and about 1/3 of Yellowstone area grizzlies live outside the official recovery zone. Logic dictates that after grizzlies are delisted, the bear population will eventually drop by 1/3, which would put them back on the list of threatened and endangered species. US Fish & Wildllife Service grizzly bear recovery coordinator Chris Servheen claims that even after delisting, this habitat outside the recovery zone will be well protected for grizzlies. That’s difficult to believe given that most of the habitat is on US Forest Service land. In addition, the states of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho are all eager to start legal hunting season on grizzlies.

    Two, in order to delist grizzlies, Servheen and the agencies juggled the numbers in to create a huge increase in the grizzly population. For decades, estimates on the overall grizzly populations have been based on extrapolations from the number of unduplicated sightings of sows with cubs. In the past, unduplicated sightings of 48 sows with cubs meant the overall population was 400 bears. Using new math, 48 sows with cubs meant the overall population was 600 bears. Yee-haw, let’s delist them damn grizzlies!!!!! In the past, all the grizzlies killed by elk hunters and various agency “management actions” meant the mortality rate was too high to delist grizzlies. But since new math created hundreds of new bears, the same number of dead grizzlies that once precluded delisting was now OK. Yahooo, let’s start hunting grizzlies!!!!!

    Servheen and the agencies couldn’t explain the new math to Albert Einstein or Steven Hawkings, let alone you or your Congressional representatives.

    If you trust that Serveen and the agencies got the new math right, and that the US Forest Service will provide adequate protection for bear habitat, then grizzlies are in great shape and delisting is not an issue.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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