Don't mess with Yellowstone's grizzlies: Bears are back on endangered list


Shooting grizzly bears in Yellowstone National Park is no longer allowed. Period. A U.S. District Court ruling has required the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service to put the iconic animal back on the Endangered Species Act protected list. The decision earlier this week is a huge victory for environmentalists who had long contended the grizzly was prematurely removed from the list and still faced extinction.

While grizzlies were off the list, 37 were shot by people in 2008, the highest shooting mortality rate in decades. Hunting grizzlies is illegal even if they are not endangered. But wildlife advocates believe the removal of the Yellowstone grizzlies more than two years ago encouraged shootings. They also say the lack of endangered species protection resulted in diminished punishments against violators who claimed they shot bears in self defense, including, in some cases, small cubs.