PINEDALE – The fate of Sublette County cattle producers who pasture their herds in the Upper Green area of the Wind River Mountains could be in jeopardy if repeated livestock deprodations result in the permanent removal of grizzly bears from the ecosystem.
Going into this season, the removal of a single female grizzly bear could force the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to permanently remove grazers from pastures they have used for a century.
The population of grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is expanding. Last year, the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team (IGBST) estimated the number of grizzlies to be about 629.
In December 2013, the IGBST recommended grizzly bears be removed from protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee voted unanimously to delist the bears. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is the only agency authorized to make such a decision, but the issue is pressing.
As grizzly bears begin expanding out of Yellowstone National Park and into the Wind River and Wyoming ranges, they come into conflict with livestock.
For the complete article see the 03-25-2014 issue.
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