Friday, December 02, 2016

Humans blamed for rising grizzly bear deaths at Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone grizzly bear (Reuters photo by Jim Urquhart)
Humans are being blamed for an unusually high number of grizzly bear deaths in Yellowstone National Park, Laura Zuckerman reports for Reuters. This year 55 grizzly-bear carcasses have been found, with wildlife advocates expecting the number of dead to grow to at least 61 by the end of the year, compared to 28 in 2014 and 29 in 2013.

"Nearly half the grizzlies were killed by government bear managers for preying on cattle, sheep and the like," Zuckerman writes, but the increase in deaths is being blamed on a "growing number of the bruins harming livestock or challenging hunters over freshly killed game. ... The uptick in bear deaths comes as the Obama administration says the population of roughly 690 bears in and around Yellowstone has come back from the brink of extinction and should be stripped of U.S. Endangered Species Act protections. The plan, proposed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service earlier this year, opens the way for hunting in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, the Northern Rocky Mountain states that border the park."

Sportsmen and ranchers support the plan, claiming "the number of conflicts will diminish by targeting bears that bounce hunters off freshly shot game or which harm livestock," Zuckerman writes, Conservationists and Native Americans, who consider the grizzly to be sacred, oppose removing the bears from endangered status. (Read more)

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