July 13, 2005

Wyoming Panel Approves Grizzly Boundaries

RAWLINS, Wyo. -- The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission set boundaries Tuesday for where grizzly bears can roam in the state in hopes of ending special federal protections and giving Wyoming, Montana and Idaho more control over the bears.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering removing grizzlies from Endangered Species Act protection, citing steadily growing populations and adequate protections for the bear and its habitat in the Yellowstone National Park area.

Each of the three states had to develop a federally approved management plan to keep the bear population stable once the federal protection is removed.

"Wyoming has done what the Fish and Wildlife required it in order to get the bear delisted," commissioner Clark Allan said before the panel unanimously approved the boundaries.

Under the plan, the primary habitat for grizzlies would lie in Yellowstone and the surrounding national forests and wilderness areas. The bears would be allowed in most adjacent U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service areas within 50 to 100 miles of the park, where there are few people.

Outside the parks, controlled hunting, relocation and other means would be allowed to keep bear populations stable and away from populated areas. Currently, the law prohibits killing species listed as endangered.

An estimated 600 grizzly bears roam the Yellowstone ecosystem, which includes parts of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. The bear has been listed as threatened for 20 years while efforts were made to help its numbers grow.


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