The endangered apex predator rollercoaster keeps on rollin’: Yesterday, federal judge Donald Molloy (bane of wolf hunters everywhere) decided to reverse a 2007 decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that removed the Yellowstone population of grizzlies from a list of threatened species.
Molloy ruled that mechanisms in place to protect the bears outside the Endangered Species Act are inadequate, and he also noted that the USFWS failed to take into account the impacts of both global warming and its effect on dwindling grizzly food sources—especially nuts from the white bark pine. The original move to de-list grizzlies was challenged by the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, and Molloy essentially agreed with their position.
Judge Molloy agreed with the coalition that the agency’s regulatory plans — many of which “depend on guidelines, monitoring, and promises, or good intentions for future actions” — were “unenforceable and non-binding on state and federal agencies.”
The Fish and Wildlife Service can still appeal the decision, but for now, conservation groups are optimistic about the grizzlies’ future.
Based on how up-and-down these matters can be, I’d suggest that grizzlies shouldn’t get too comfortable. In fact, maybe they should engage in some consultation with the wolves. Or not: