The Northern Cheyenne tribe joined a coalition of environmental groups Monday in requesting a federal judge reinstate Endangered Species Act protections for the Yellowstone-area grizzly bear.
The animal was delisted last summer, but the coalition says the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s recent reopening of public comment of that delisting is evidence the government didn’t finish its homework before removing protections.
“I think there needs to be a little more research done in terms of the impact and the loss of genetic diversity to the grizzly bear population in and around the Yellowstone area,” says Tribal president Conrad Fisher.
Fisher also says the feds didn’t consult tribes before removing protections.
“Not just the Northern Cheyenne tribe, but certainly with other tribes in the form of government-to-government consultation.”
Grizzly bears once ranged throughout the Northern Cheyenne Tribe’s traditional territory, including lands within the boundaries of the reservation.
The federal government is promising a new review of the Yellowstone grizzly delisting issue by March 31. But in the meantime, unless a judge intervenes, the animal will remain without protections.
There are an estimated 700 grizzly bears living in and around the park.