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Report May Open Door To Grizzly Delisting

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A report presented to the Yellowstone Ecosystem Subcommittee of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee yesterday may contain the information needed to at last have the bear removed from the list of threatened species.  Spokesman Gregg Losinski says the synthesis report, documenting that bears do not require White Bark Pine nuts in their diet was accepted by the committee and will be reviewed by the full IGBC in December.  He says the report looked at all the various foods that bears eat, the conditions that their bodies are in, and the effects of things like density, populations and White Bark Pine supplies. Losinski says, “The overall conclusions (even though some of the sections are not complete yet) are that while White Bark Pine is important, it is not critical to the survival of grizzly bears in the Yellowstone ecosystem.”  Moreover, Losinski says the density of the population along with the population’s overall health is a more important factor in delisting the bear than the White Bark Pine supply. In fact, he says the study team reported that the bear population may be close to the carrying capacity of the ecosystem. He says the way the recovery plan is written, bears would be allowed to expand the areas that are biological suitable – and for a bear, that’s just about anywhere – but also areas that are socially acceptable.  Says Losinski:  “That socially acceptable part is very tricky because of all the different things that people feel and do about bears.”  He says that means there will places that bears won’t be allowed.  In those cases he says other management tools such as hunting will be employed. Losinski says should the IGBC accept the report and pass it along to the US Fish and Wildlife Service for a rule change, any potential rule change would be made available to the public for comment.  Then, only after such a process would the bear be delisted within the ecosystem.

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