Outdoors

Interior supports removing Yellowstone grizzlies from Endangered Species protection

The bridge to the southern rim of one of Yellowstone National Park's top attractions, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, is shown closed Wednesday. Park officials closed this area after a grizzly sow killed a man who was hiking with his wife a mile and a half up the trail the day before.  (Associated Press)
The bridge to the southern rim of one of Yellowstone National Park's top attractions, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, is shown closed Wednesday. Park officials closed this area after a grizzly sow killed a man who was hiking with his wife a mile and a half up the trail the day before. (Associated Press)

WILDLIFE — Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said he shares Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead's desire to end federal protections for Yellowstone grizzly bears.

According to the Associated Press, Salazar wrote to Mead last week saying he expects the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other agencies will finish their court-ordered analysis of the effect of the decline of the whitebark pine tree on bear populations by early 2014.

Mead wrote to Salazar in May saying that the gravity of the bear situation around the nation’s oldest national park cannot be overemphasized. Mead said bears killed four people in the area over the past two years.

It's not clear whether Salazar pointed out that in at least two of those cases, the victims were culpable in the attacks.

Biologists estimate the Greater Yellowstone area had about 600 bears last year. The area includes parts of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.




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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.


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