By Stan Bush

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (CBS4)– A federal judge extended a temporary restraining order on Thursday, delaying planned grizzly bear hunts in Wyoming and Idaho.

U.S. District Court Judge Dana Christensen issued a new two-week suspension of the hunts that were scheduled to begin Sept. 1.

hunting grizzlies 10pkg frame 2383 Grizzly Bear Hunting Delayed Again

(credit: CBS)

“We’re immensely relieved. The bears were just granted a stay of execution,” says Jeremy Nichols, a program director with WildEarth Guardians.

hunting grizzlies 10pkg frame 21 Grizzly Bear Hunting Delayed Again

(credit: CBS)

A half dozen environmental groups are suing the U.S. Department of Fish & Game over the decision to remove grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem from the endangered species list. Less than a year after that decision Wyoming and Idaho made plans for the first grizzly hunt in 40 years. Up to 23 bears could be killed if the hunt is allowed to go forward.

hunting grizzlies 10pkg frame 296 Grizzly Bear Hunting Delayed Again

(credit: CBS)

“The judge sees issues here. Federal judges don’t just hand out temporary restraining orders like candy. He’s seeing an issue of justice and the merits of our argument are real,” says Nichols.

hunting grizzlies 10pkg frame 419 Grizzly Bear Hunting Delayed Again

(credit: CBS)

Wyoming game officials argue that grizzlies have grown in unsuitable habitat that threatens livestock and people. Game managers think hunting is an appropriate was to manage to population.

hunting grizzlies 10pkg frame 657 Grizzly Bear Hunting Delayed Again

(credit: CBS)

The bear population has grown from 136 known bears in the 1970s to 757 in 2007. Right now around 700 grizzlies are believed to live in the area. Nearly 50 bears die every year due to conflicts with ranchers or as roadkill.

hunting grizzlies 10pkg frame 1341 Grizzly Bear Hunting Delayed Again

(credit: CBS)

Environmentalists believe other factors, like climate change, could be hindering the grizzly population from growing. The judge is considering all of those opinions now.

hunting grizzlies 10pkg frame 1498 Grizzly Bear Hunting Delayed Again

(credit: CBS)

“We’re hoping he rules to enforce what the scientists say. And the scientists say the bears need protections over a longer period of time,” adds Nichols. “If we don’t stand up and protect our wildlife, they will disappear.”

hunting grizzlies 10pkg frame 1600 Grizzly Bear Hunting Delayed Again

(credit: CBS)

Stan Bush is a general assignment reporter at CBS4. His stories can be seen on CBS4 News at 10. Read his bio and follow him on Twitter @StanBushTV.

Comments

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s