Yellowstone Grizzly Population Rising—Controlled Measures Pondered
In the mid-1970s, it was realized that the Grizzly Bear population of Yellowstone National Park was beginning to dwindle. With less than an estimated 150 bears left in the park, conservationists acted quickly to protect the wildlife. Now, more than 40 years later, state officials are claiming that the conservation efforts were a major success seeing as the bear population has surged to an estimated 700+.
This week, the US Fish and Wildlife Commission suggested that federal bans on Grizzly Bear hunting be lifted in order to better control the Grizzly population. The reason for this stems from the fact that the 700 or so bears that live in the park now number the same as what existed more than 15 years earlier. Seeing as the population of bears has remained more or less stagnant, there is a belief that the ecosystem within which the bears live has reached its capacity.
This has been the case for a while now, but it seems as though the large population of bears is not enough for judges to take away protections. Ten years ago similar propositions were made in order to allow for hunting in Yellowstone, but it was shot down. Again in 2009 a similar proposal was made, but a Federal judge from Montana upheld protections yet again.
Because Yellowstone spans across 3 states, it is going to take a collective effort in order for protections to be lifted. As of now, the proposal that is being submitted is nothing more than framework for the lifting of protections. It is going to take a lot more work for Grizzly hunting to be allowed in Yellowstone, but it seems as though there is a real effort being made this time around.
Not only would this open up a considerable amount of space for hunting, it would also work to protect park patrons from bear attacks. Naturally, with such a large population of bears roaming the park now, the likelihood that they will come in contact with humans has been growing considerably.