Grab Your Rifle: It's Open Season on Grizzlies in Yellowstone

| Mon Mar. 26, 2007 8:53 PM EDT

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As I noted last week, the Department of the Interior just issued an opinion on how the Endangered Species Act should be interpreted. And already we're seeing the results: Yellowstone's grizzly bear population just got kicked off the endangered species list.

The grizzly will still continue to be classified as "endangered" in four other geographical areas. The Department of Interior declares that the delisting of Yellowstone's 500 grizzlies is a success. Hunters would agree: In February, Montana approved a bill that would allow grizzlies to be hunted (along with wolves) once they were delisted. Hunting permits are available by lottery and cost $19 for wolves, $50 for grizzlies.

Are 500 animals enough to ensure the genetic diversity and continued growth of an entire species? (Remember there were 100,000 of the creatures roaming the land when Lewis and Clark came through.) Nature thinks no, but apparently our government thinks yes. Happy hunting.

—Jen Phillips