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PNS Daily Newscast - November 13, 2018. 


Californian’s now facing a pair of wildfires; Also on the Tuesday rundown: Higher education in New Jersey: a racial split; plus food resources still available despite the “public charge” proposal.

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Struggle Continues to Keep Yellowstone Grizzlies Protected

Conservation groups and indigenous tribes are gearing up to oppose the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's plans to remove Yellowstone Park grizzly bears from the endangered species list.
Conservation groups and indigenous tribes are gearing up to oppose the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's plans to remove Yellowstone Park grizzly bears from the endangered species list.
March 7, 2016

CHEYENNE, Wy. - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's proposal to take Yellowstone National Park grizzly bears off the endangered species list has renewed debate on whether the move, which allows hunting, could undo years of progress restoring the species.

The action would shift management of some 700 park-area bears to state agencies.

Bonnie Rice, senior representative of the Sierra Club, opposes delisting and says historically, states have been hostile toward large carnivores.

"Wyoming is particularly important because Wyoming has the majority of bears in the ecosystem," says Rice. "So bears that are stepping out of Yellowstone or Grand Teton, their future is very uncertain."

The move follows a 2013 recommendation by a federal committee of scientists and biologists which reported the Yellowstone grizzly had fully recovered.

Rice says Yellowstone bears need continued protections in order to connect with other grizzlies in Montana, and the species won't be fully restored until it can repopulate more of its historic habitat.

Rice adds keeping the bear safe also is good for local economies.

Grizzlies are big tourist attractions at national parks, she says, but if bears photographed near roads make the short walk past park boundaries, they could be killed in states expected to allow hunting.

"Millions of people come to this region every year," Rice says. "They spend millions of dollars for the chance to see a grizzly bear in the wild. And so any revenue that comes in from hunting pales in comparison."

Federal officials have promised if hunting is allowed, it would be closely monitored and conservative. A coalition of some 40 indigenous tribes have promised to fight the move and in a statement warned delisting would lead to a 2 million acre land grab by energy, livestock and logging companies.

A final rule won't be released until after the agency takes public comments.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - WY