State no longer capable of managing grizzly bear population
Grizzly bears are an important part of the Montana landscape, and our state stands proud as one of only four states outside Alaska with grizzlies. As a professional grizzly bear biologist who served as the USFWS Grizzly Bear Recovery Coordinator for 35 years leading the grizzly bear recovery program, I wrote the Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan and the original delisting proposal for the Yellowstone ecosystem grizzly population.
I previously supported the eventual delisting of recovered grizzlies and the move to turn them over to state management, assuming state wildlife professionals would be good stewards and carefully manage grizzly bears using science and facts post-delisting.
However, my opinion and the opinions of many wildlife professionals have changed over the past two years. This shift in perspective happened when Legislatures and governors in Montana and Idaho enacted new laws to try and kill wolves through aggressive, indiscriminate wildlife killing methods that would harm grizzlies. Science-based state wildlife management was replaced by legislation founded on anti-predator misinformation and emotion.