Should Yellowstone grizzly bears be a protected species? | The Tylt
The Yellowstone grizzly bear will be delisted from the Endangered Species Act (ESA) because populations have rebounded in the area. Other populations of grizzly bears will remain protected, but the government will delist them as they recover. Some are celebrating this move because they say it's a sign that conservation is working. Others oppose delisting the bears because it's unclear if the bear population is stable and could face trouble in the future. What do you think? 🐻
Should Yellowstone grizzly bears be a protected species?
The research backing delisting Yellowstone grizzly bears is flawed. The government agency in charge of monitoring grizzly bears, the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team (IGBST), found Yellowstone grizzly populations plateaued while the range doubled. According to the government agency, this shows the local grizzly bear population has recovered and is now expanding.
But according to Wired, former IBGST member Dave Matson says this interpretation is flawed. The reason why grizzly bear populations are ranging further is because climate change is decimating their main food source. The population didn't max out, it's just adapting to the pressures caused by climate change.
It's too soon to say grizzly bears have recovered. It has a highly uncertain future especially as unforeseen consequences of climate change pop up. Grizzly bears must be protected to give them the best chance for a full recovery.
Others think Yellowstone grizzly bears should be delisted because that population has recovered. The population is hovering around 700, which is way up from the 136 bears in the region when the species was first listed.
Bears are adaptable creatures. The white bark pine die off is a serious problem but the bears are maintaining their weight. They're traveling more but they're finding the food they need. Even though it's an isolated population, the population is genetically diverse and should remain adaptable.
The Yellowstone grizzly bear is a success story. It should be delisted to prove the ESA's legitimacy. States will be in charge of managing the population, some hunts will happen, but the population will be protected. There are more animals to save besides the grizzly.