The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has recommended no change to the current listed status of the grizzly bear in the lower 48 states as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
This statement released today, March 31st follows the completion of a five-year status review. Their recommendation follows a thorough review of the best available science, informed by an independently peer-reviewed species status assessment.
The grizzly bear is listed under the ESA as a single entity in the lower 48 states, according to the USFWS press release. As such, the status review and recommendation is made to the listed species as a whole.
Although grizzly bear populations in the Northern Continental Divide and Greater Yellowstone ecosystems are biologically recovered, five-year status reviews must evaluate the status of a species as it is currently listed under the ESA to ensure it is receiving the appropriate level of protection.
The five-year status review is informed by a peer-reviewed species status assessment, which includes the best available scientific information. The assessment evaluated the species’ current needs, conditions and threats and model future scenarios. It also involved significant contributions from scientific experts, including an independent peer review as well as review by partners at federal, state and Tribal agencies.
Progress toward recovering the species has been made through close partnerships with local, state, federal and Tribal agencies since the original listing in 1975. This work among recovery partners is a significant factor in the species not being listed as endangered.
However, considerable challenges remain to fully recover the grizzly bear in the lower 48 states, resulting in the recommendation to continue listing it as threatened, according to USFWS. These remaining challenges include limited habitat connectivity, management of access by motorized vehicles, human-caused mortality and uncertainty surrounding future conservation efforts in some ecosystems.
This statement from USFWS follows a bill recently introduced by Senator Cynthia Lummis to remove grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem from the Endangered Species List and shift management of the grizzlies to wildlife scientists in the states.
Click here to read more about the bill, Grizzly Bear State Management Act of 2021.