A judge has ruled that the isolated grizzly bear population in the Cabinet-Yaak area can be treated as endangered . . .
Animals and plants can be considered endangered even if they are not on the brink of extinction, a judge ruled in overturning the U.S. government’s re-classification of a small population of grizzly bears living in the forests of Montana and Idaho near the Canada border.
Tuesday’s ruling by U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen said that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is prohibited from narrowing the definition an endangered species in its future decisions without explaining why it wants to make the policy change.
The federal Endangered Species Act defines an endangered species as one that is “in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.”
The US Fish and Wildlife Service continues to butt heads with conservationists over the status of the Cabinet-Yaak grizzly population . . .
The Alliance for the Wild Rockies on Tuesday filed a lawsuit in federal court to force the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to upgrade federal protections for grizzly bears in the Cabinet-Yaak ecosystem.
Grizzlies in the lower 48 states have been listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act since 1975. One of five distinct populations, the bears in the Cabinet-Yaak ecosystem have struggled compared with the populations occupying areas near Glacier and Yellowstone national parks.
The Missoula conservation group’s lawsuit alleges that the Fish and Wildlife Service failed to use a scientific rationale in its 2014 decision not to reclassify the Cabinet-Yaak population as “endangered.”