WYOMING — The Equality State, lead by Governor Mark Gordon, joins the U.S. federal government in appeal of a District Court decision designating grizzly bears as ‘endangered.’
Wyoming state executives, however, express doubt over the success of the appeal in the San Fransico-based Circuit Court, and Governor Gordon adds the removal of grizzlies from the Endangered Species List is tied to the re-election of Donald Trump in 2020.
The Powell Tribune reports that while speaking to members of the Park County Farm Bureau Federation Gordon said, “I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure Trump is reelected, because this administration understands how important it is for states to have the opportunity to manage their own affairs. That’s critical.”
The issue stems most recently from a 2018 ruling by Montana Judge Dana Christensen blocking hunting as well as re-instating protective measures for grizzlies. Christensen’s reasoning determined Fish and Wildlife Service to be lacking in both actions to protect the species and consideration of how delisting Yellowstone bears would affect other area grizzly populations.
Inversely, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had already delisted Yellowstone grizzlies the previous year. And the presidential administrations of George W. Bush, Barack Obama and now Trump have similarly concluded that grizzly population within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is no longer “threatened.” However, legal challenges persist.
Environmental groups contend the animals need continued aid against new climate change threats, lack of genetic diversity and hunting activities.
Despite the environmental outcry, Gordon has committed to working “very hard” in leading State of Wyoming efforts to successfully delist the Yellowstone grizzly but additionally warns voters, choosing of a new president in 2020 may negate any progress achieved in the closing six months of Trump’s term.
To date, the federal government estimates that 712 grizzlies populate the Yellowstone ecosystem. And bears are reported to be roaming farther from core habitat zones around Yellowstone National Park. Officials with Wyoming Game and Fish Department view this as indication that grizzly presence has saturated earlier suitable habitat areas and the animals are now spreading into additional areas, yet the current District Court decision placing endangered status upon the grizzly still stands.
Governor Gordon has promised his administration will not relent “at all” on the grizzly issue and urges voters strongly to take supportive action toward delisting the bear, including that of extending Trump’s presidency.
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