A grizzly bear in Denali National Park, Alaska. Photo: National Park Service ( Flickr ) It looks like nobody’s going to be shooting a Yellowstone grizzly bear for sport this year after all. On Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Dana Christensen restored endangered species protections to grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, asserting that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) acted “arbitrarily and capriciously” when it chose to delist the 700 bears in 2017. The ruling ends a high-stakes showdown over what would have been Idaho and Wyomings’ first grizzly bear hunting seasons in over 40 years. Advertisement Wyoming’s planned hunt of up to 22 bears, in particular, sparked a national uproar, as those who opposed it on moral or scientific grounds squared off against ranchers and farmers living near Yellowstone. In his order, Christensen made clear that the case “is not about the ethics of hunting, and it is not about solving human- or livestock-grizzly conflicts as a practical philosophical manner.” Instead, the case was about whether the decision to de-list this segment of the Lower 48 grizzly population was scientifically sound. (Grizzly bears as a whole still enjoy endangered species protections across the Lower 48.) […]

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