Judge grants temporary restraining order blocking griz in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem for now

WYOMING – US District Court Dana Christensen late yesterday issued a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction for the grizzly bear hunts in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, delaying hunting seasons scheduled to begin this weekend in Wyoming and Idaho.

Citing precedent, Christensen agreed that the plaintiffs had established that they are likely to succeed on the merits, that they are likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief, and that an injunction is in the public interest.

The judge added that in Endangered Species Act cases, the Court “presume[ s] that remedies at law are inadequate, that the balance of interests weighs in favor of protecting endangered species, and that the public interest would not be disserved by an injunction.”

Christensen went on to say, “establishing irreparable injury should not be an onerous task for plaintiffs” and “Here, the threat of death to individual grizzly bears posed by the scheduled hunt is sufficient. Indeed, “harm to…members of endangered species is irreparable because once a member of an endangered species has been injured, the task of preserving that species becomes all the more difficult.”

The Temporary Restraining Order stands for 14 days, during which defendants representing the federal government can make their case. That process begins first thing this morning at Missoula’s Russell Smith Courthouse.

The news did not sit well with Sen. Mike Enzi-R who expressed his disappointment this morning.

“Experts and wildlife officials agree that the grizzly bear in the Yellowstone region has been recovered for many years,” Enzi said. “It is unfortunate that activist litigation has once again delayed the process of allowing states to properly manage their own wildlife. After reviewing the evidence, I hope the judge recognizes the recovered status of the bears and allows Wyoming to continue management of the species.”

Read the entire ruling on grizzly.

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