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Bearly Legal: The Grizzly Bear and the Law

The essays in this collection discuss some of the legal issues at the heart of current disputes about grizzlies, including the role of the Endangered Species Act and the decisions to remove endangered species protections, and the problems posed by state management of grizzlies. For more on why delisting is a bad idea, see:

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“What Are We Fighting About?” 9th Circuit Hears Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Delisting Case    May 20, 2020

Written on the heels of the 9th Circuit court hearing on grizzly bear delisting, this essay examines the legal issues at play in the case, the lower court’s previous ruling, and important issues that the court did not address, including climate change.


"What's Changed?" Judge Christensen Probes Grizzly Bear Delisting    October 9, 2018

This essay describes the drama in the federal courtroom over the case involving the federal government’s decision to strip protections for Yellowstone grizzly bears, the players, and the key issues at the center of the hotly contested case.


Grizzly Victory: Trophy Hunt Stopped, But Bear Deaths Skyrocket    September 6, 2018

This essay explains the 2018 ruling by federal Judge Dana Christensen that restored endangered species protections for Yellowstone grizzly bears on the eve of a grizzly bear trophy hunt, and provides important historical and legal context for the debate -- to the tune (sort of) of Tom Petty at the time of his birthday.


Grizzlies Under the Endangered Species Act: How Have They Fared?    March 3, 2017 

This essay described the gains made for threatened grizzlies under protections of the Endangered Species Act, including through litigation brought by conservationists, and outlines the damage done to grizzly bear populations without these protections.


Delisting Grizzlies To Save The ESA?     June 23, 2016

This essay rebuts the central argument marshalled to justify stripping federal protections from Yellowstone grizzly bears: the Fish and Wildlife must demonstrate “successes” defined by delisting as many species as possible – and grizzly bears in particular – or Congress will dismantle the Endangered Species Act. In sum, there is no evidence supporting this claim, while plenty of evidence exists showing that delisting is a bad idea. 


Why Wyoming's Thugs Should Not Be Trusted With Our Grizzly Bears     June 10, 2016

This essay explains that Wyoming’s anti-carnivore views, disregard of the broader public trust so as to serve a minority of hunters and ranchers, and culture of violence, bigotry and sexism make the state unsuited for managing imperiled grizzly bears.

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