The US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a Montana District Court decision reinstating Endangered Species Act protections for the grizzly bear population in the Yellowstone region.
In 2007, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) declared grizzly bears a “distinct population segment” and attempted to remove the species from protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This decision was subsequently challenged, and the court held that further agency consideration was necessary to remove the species from the list. The court’s decision to remand resulted in a second delisting attempt of the species in 2017, which the district court also vacated.
The FWS appealed “those aspects of the remand that require the study of the effect of the delisting on the remaining, still listed, grizzly population in the coterminous 48 states, as well as further consideration of the threat of delisting to long term genetic diversity of the Yellowstone grizzly.”
In its decision handed down Wednesday, the court stated: “We affirm the district court in all respects, with the exception of the order requiring the FWS to conduct a ‘comprehensive review’ of the remnant grizzly population. As to that order, we remand for the district court to order further examination of the delisting’s effect on the remnant grizzly population consistent with this opinion.”