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Natural Resources & Energy

Wyoming waiting on Idaho and Montana after approving a new grizzly management plan

The head and shoulders of a brown grizzly bear peep over a field of sagebrush.
Jim Peaco
Yellowstone National Park

Wyoming is moving forward in its effort to return grizzly bear management back to the states. This comes after Governor Gordon announced his commitment to put the bears back under state control. The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission has approved a new management plan and is now awaiting Montana and Idaho to approve it.

A U.S. district judge returned grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) to the threatened species list back in 2018, citing concerns about the state's management plan, including method of population counting and genetic health.

Now the Wyoming Game and Fish Department has revised the memorandum of understanding (MOA) to reflect those concerns. They updated the population and committed to honor any change of population method and committed to translocating grizzlies from other regions to aid with genetic viability.

"That just provides assurance that the three states will commit to translocating grizzly bears into the GYE," said Rick King, the Wyoming Game and Fish wildlife chief. "We committed to translocate at least two bears into the GYE by 2025. And then commit to do additional translocations into the GYE if it's deemed necessary."

The MOA doesn't exclude hunting as an option to control grizzly numbers. Now the revised plan needs to be approved by Idaho and Montana.

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