Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 19

filed by environmental groups, though the recovered
population continued to grow and remained healthy.
" The District Court determined there were four
problems with the delisting rule: inadequate regulatory mechanisms to ensure long term recovery, a lack
of genetic connectivity with other populations, the
assertion that bears were potentially not recovered
in a significant portion of their range and that the
federal government failed to consider of the decline
of whitebark pine on the bear's food source, " Nesvik
said. " After four years of litigation, Wyoming won
on three of the four challenges. "
Only the whitebark pine decline was upheld for
further consideration. In the meantime, grizzly bears
returned to federal management.
By 2012 wildlife managers in the GYE documented more than 700 individuals with a range double that of 1974. In response to the court's decision
to relist grizzly bears, the IGBST published the Food
Synthesis Report in 2013, using data collected from
intensive monitoring to demonstrate the decline of
whitebark pine had no negative impact on the griz's
recovery and future viability. Key findings of this
report showed any changes in the population growth
was due to " density dependent " effects, indicative
of a population at carrying capacity. It also documented grizzly bears were " opportunistic omnivores, "
meaning they are adaptable and utilize multiple food
sources. Three years after the report was submitted,
the USFWS changed the recovery criteria to require at
least 600 bears as a floor and a management objective
of 674. Meeting all criteria and achieving a monumental milestone in species recovery, in 2017 bears
in the GYE were delisted for the second time and
Wyoming took the helm for management.
" We were ready. We had a management plan in
place based around an adaptive management strategy that would monitor populations, food sources,
habitat, conflict management and hunting. It represented decades of research, on-the-ground management experience and a great deal of public input, "
Thompson said.
Despite population recovery and readiness, state
authority was cut short after six months when a U.S.
District Judge restored federal protections for the Yellowstone-area population of grizzly bears and halted
a planned grizzly hunt for Wyoming.
The court cited errors in the USFWS delisting rule
with regards to genetic connectivity, failure to consider
impacts on other grizzly bear populations and a lack
of a future commitment to a complex concept termed
" recalibration. " The decision was appealed in 2018,
and in 2020, the federal court of appeals upheld the
District Court decision.
" In essence we have seen the federal goals for minimum population sizes to document recovery go from

A grizzly bear takes a break as it protects an animal carcass. (Photo by Cindy Goeddel)

roughly 300 bears, to 400 bears for genetic health, to
500 bears for a conservative buffer, to 600 in the most
recent delisting rule. The target for a 'recovered population' has been ever increasing, " Wyoming Game
and Fish Commission Vice President Pat Crank wrote
in 2020 testimony to the U.S. Senate Committee on
Environment and Public Works.
The last four decades of success and challenges have
come with a big investment from the state. Game and
Fish, which pays for the recovery, research, conflict
management and damage, has invested more than
$50 million in grizzly recovery. That money comes


Wyoming Wildlife | 19


Wyoming Wildlife magazine

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Wyoming Wildlife magazine

From the director
In this issue
A couple pennies
Opening shot
Griz on the Go poster
Ask Game and Fish
Grizzly Glossary
Bruin Challenges
Allure of the grizzly
Grizzly Q&A
Wild Country Dispatch
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - Cover
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - From the director
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - In this issue
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - A couple pennies
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - Mailbag
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - Opening shot
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 7
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - News
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - Griz on the Go poster
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 10
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 11
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - Ask Game and Fish
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - Grizzly Glossary
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - Bruin Challenges
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 15
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 16
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 17
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 18
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 19
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 20
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 21
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 22
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 23
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 24
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 25
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 26
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 27
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - Allure of the grizzly
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 29
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 30
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 31
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 32
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 33
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 34
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 35
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - Grizzly Q&A
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 37
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 38
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 39
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 40
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 41
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 42
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 43
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 44
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 45
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - Wild Country Dispatch
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 47
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - Backpage