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Federal Government Faces Potential Lawsuit Over Potential Grizzly Killings

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Several conservation groups filed an intent to sue over a move that could result in up to 72 grizzly bears being killed in the next ten years.

Back in October, the Bridger Teton National Forest in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released its decision on cattle and horse grazing in a controversial area of public land just northwest of Pinedale. Some contest the rangeland is prime grizzly bear habitat.

The Forest Service decision continues livestock grazing in Upper Green River area on six land allotments. The decision included some mitigation efforts for grizzlies like bear sanitation guidelines. But some conservation groups like the Center for Biological Diversity, Western Watersheds Projects, and Sierra Club are concerned with which animal the U.S. Forest Service is managing.

“We want them to better manage cattle instead of trying to manage grizzly bears by killing them,” said Mike Garrity, executive director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies. “They could target their grazing areas in different times of the year where there’s less conflict with cattle.”

Garrity said the grizzly bears are still endangered and therefore the bears need a lot of protection.

“Federal judges ruled twice that they still need to be protected under the Endangered Species Act. So, we can’t justify killing 72 grizzly bears over the next 10 years, because cattle aren’t being managed properly,” said Garrity.

Since the groups want to sue for violations of the Endangered Species Act, they must file an intent to sue so the federal government has 60 days to respond to the allegations.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Kamila Kudelska, at kkudelsk@uwyo.edu.

In addition to reporting daily on the happenings in Northwest Wyoming, Kamila is also the producer of the Kids Ask WhY Podcast and the History Unloaded Podcast.Kamila has worked for public radio stations in California, New York, France and Poland. Originally from New York City, she loves exploring new places. Kamila received her master in journalism from Columbia University. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring the surrounding areas with her two pups and husband.
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