By Danielle Chavira
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (CBS4) – On Monday, a U.S. District Court judge reversed a 2017 U.S. Fish & Wildlife decision to take grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem off of the Endangered Species Act.
The move comes after weeks of debate that suspended a grizzly bear hunt scheduled for Sept. 1. That bear hunt is now blocked.
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The court stated wildlife officials didn’t properly analyze the impact of killing grizzlies outside Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks would have on other populations.
A half dozen environmental groups sued the U.S. Department of Fish & Game for the removal of grizzlies from the Endangered Species List. Later, Wyoming and Idaho made plans for the first grizzly hunt in 40 years in which up to 23 bears could be killed.
Wyoming game officials argued grizzlies have grown in unsuitable habitat that threatens livestock and people. Game managers think hunting is an appropriate way to manage to population.
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.
Environmentalists believe other factors, like climate change, could be hindering the grizzly population from growing.
A copy of the ruling is available here.