WHAT THE PEOPLE HAVE TO SAY
What People Said About Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Delisting
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), over 650,000 comments were submitted on the 2016 proposal to remove endangered species protections (“delist”) the Yellowstone grizzly bear. Over 99% of those who commented opposed delisting. Similar statistics exist for 2006, when an earlier delisting rule was released for public comment. Particularly strong were voices of children, scientists, conservationists, and old timers. Many invoked spiritual connections to bears and the earth, stewardship and leaving a legacy for future generations.
ABOUT: Stewardship, spiritual connections, and concern about future generations. Many discussed our responsibility to those who come after, and the need for stewardship as an antidote to human greed and arrogance.
“Is the test of our values as a nation if we will be willing to forego a ravenous appetite of everything and permit this magnificent member of God’s creation to exist and thrive”,
Barbara Rugotske, Cheyenne, Wyoming.
“Why do humans feel they have a right to murder any animals they please? Some day these killers will answer to a higher judge who lovingly created animals not for us to murder but for us to enjoy the beauty of and co-exist in peace…killing these beautiful animals who God gave the right to live”,
Barbara Keith, Steelton, PA.
“It is the duty of human beings to be stewards of the earth and its inhabitants based on a value system that seeks to create a balance and harmony with the many ecosystems on the planet.”
Heather McClure, Presbyterian Hospital of Plano Texas
“It is another animal in God’s kingdom that must be blessed with our care and nurturing…this is important for future generations of Americans, our children’s children to have a world filled with God’s creatures. It is in your hands”,
Noel Filice-Smith, Loomis, CA.
“Is there not room for both of us? God made the animals and birds and gave man dominion over them. I am hopeful that we can do the right thing.”
“Why is it that this administration wants to reverse all that is right about protecting endangered species? As professed Christians they are practicing bad theology. We are called to care for the earth and all its creatures, not to swing our political hammers. Let’s take the animals off the table. Please reverse your course. Do not remove Yellowstone’s grizzlies from the endangered species list.”
Janie Clark, Atlanta, GA
“If we take the griz off the Endangered Species List they are fair game to ranchers, hunters, fisherman, loggers, hikers and home builders. It won’t be long before the griz is only in Alaska. We have lost 75% of our forests in just the last 50 years. The bottom line is when are we going to say “Enough is Enough already”. Let’s save some of the wilderness and wildlife that belongs there. Lets stop killing our planet and save some of God’s country. If we want nature, we have to have land and species for it. Let’s start at the top of the food chain, the true king of beasts, the grizzly bear.”
Grizzly Greg, Bozeman, MT
“We have worked so long and so hard to reach these modest numbers. The poachers, railroads, cars, poisonings, and mistakes by hunters certainly keep the grizzly numbers in check, as it is. What a success story we have. Let us continue to protect, and when the numbers are large for an area, if that should happen, move this magnificent animal to other areas where the gene pool may be enhanced…I am a life-long Montanan, not a bleeding heart transplant to the state who has never seen a live animal. I believe it is our human obligation to share the planet, and to be good stewards, rather than to ravage it in the name of greed, ignorance and arrogance.”
Jill Weiser Moore, Absarokee, MT
“Despite many misconceptions, the resources of this planet are not unlimited and we are fools if we chose to squander them.”
Geof Sawaya, Salt Lake City, UT
“I am 84 years hold. I would like my grandchildren and great grandchildren to enjoy nature as I did when I was young. Please do not remove the grizzly bear from the endangered species list. Let my descendents enjoy nature as I have in my lifetime.”
William Harris, Los Alimetos, CA
“As an old native of Montana, I now appreciate the values of the bears and wildlife during my stay at my grandfather’s homestead. We were taught to fear, enjoy and respect the bears on our land with the lords blessing to live together…You have those that are hell bent on getting rid of all wildlife and those that want to use it for their own selfish way of life. There aren’t more animals just more people and less land. Think of the west — wildlife are what it is.”
Virginia Evangeline, Sheridan, WY
“This may sound strange to hear from a man who has hunted all his life but there are certain animals that just shouldn’t be hunted and unless bears take over the country and become a real danger they are a animal to be admired for their beauty and strength. Let’s not take the chance of doing it again. I want my grandsons and their children to be able to see these magnificent creatures long after I’ve left this earth. I believe they are right I will stand with them even though I do belong to the NRA.”
Orville Wayne Arnold, Spencer, OK
ABOUT: The symbolic importance of the bear. Many comments stressed the symbolic importance of the bear as an icon of American freedom, independence, and as a symbol of the interconnectedness and diversity of life.
“Grizzlies, in addition to being native, are a symbol of strength and freedom. Eliminating them would be like eliminating the flag”,
Janet Jordon, Olympia, Washington.
“If the Statute of Liberty is our monument to American opportunity, Yellowstone National Park, with its grizzly bears, wolves, and free-roaming buffalo, is our monument to American wilderness.”
J. Capozzeli, New York, NY
“A mountain is more of a mountain when the grizzly and the grey wolf roam free on it.”
William S. Garrity, Cameron, MT
“It seems every country has an animal that defines it, brings to mind its spirit and energy, For the west, where I live, it will always be the Grizzly. For Montana, especially, this is a creature that turns the tide of man’s superiority on the land, and makes everyone a little more respectful of nature….Don’t do it. Don’t let cold money replace these icons of the American West.”
Kim Cower, Talent, OR
“I strongly oppose the plan to delist the grizzly bear. There are not enough grizzlies. They do not breed fast enough to ensure a viable population. I have lived on my ranch on the Wood River outside of Meeteetse for more than 30 years. In the beginning there were no grizzlies. I have seen three bears in the last ten years. They are coming back, but very slowly….Every time I see one, it is a great thrill. The sightings make me glad to live in Wyoming. Do not allow these magnificent animals to be hunted. We need more grizzly bears. They are the spirit of the wild and the free. They are what makes Wyoming a unique and exceptional place to live.”
Charles C. Rumsey, Jr., Meeteetse, WY
“The diversity of life is what makes our planet so amazing, and also helps keep many life forms in balance and harmony”,
Heather Jacobson, Gainesville, Florida.
“A grizzly bear has significance in and of itself, an intrinsic value that is not manifest simply because humans are witness to it. A grizzly bear has a right to pursue its own good in its own way unrelated to humans.”
Marilyn Olsen, Emigrant, MT
“Wyoming will not be Wyoming and the same goes for Idaho if we lose these great bears. Such selfishness and arrogance on the part of the minority is sick.”
Maxine Morris, Powell, WY
“As Aldo Leopold wisely cautioned about the folly of “learning to see one thing by going blind to another,” we must realize and teach that wildlands, wetlands and animals are interwoven. What happens to the grizzly happens to the world.”
Duncan Weilson III, New York City, NY
ABOUT: The need for caution in the face of uncertainty and rapid change. A number of comments expressed the need for caution given the rapid pace of human development and other changes.
“I grew up in Idaho and things have changed. That’s all the more reason to protect the very things that were special to us as children—so that our children can say they saw a bear someday”,
J.D. Afflek, Denver, CO.
“Given the rapid development of the West and the uncertainty it brings, plus the deterioration of agency commitment and operations as regards to the public trust of wildlife, we are opposed to delisting”,
Dixie Davis, Sandia Park, NM.
“Keep in mind that mother-nature is fickle, and one or two tough years could diminish their numbers significantly”,
Suzanne Martin-Reay, Idaho Falls, ID.
I don’t understand why, after monitoring them closely and celebrating every positive step forward in their population for thirty years, we should be willing to subject them to so many dangers and uncertainties all at once.”
Cheryl Stewart, Red Lodge, MT
“Last but not least is the dramatic changes which are occurring across grizzly country. One needs only to look at the area between Yellowstone Park and Cody to see how human encroachment has effected the bears. If your agency doesn’t think that the financially heavy hitters who have property there don’t have influence in Wyoming political decisions I’d like to drink what you are drinking. There is a long time saying in Butte, USA—“money talks and BS walks”. If the persistent effort of the present administration to sell off attractive chunks of federal land succeeds in the Cody to Yellowstone situation will only worsen…I’m a life long resident of Montana and in my 72 years I’ve seen so many negative changes occur that I’m truly concerned that the Montana that I love is in a death spiral. We can’t risk a mistake in managing the grizzly bear that would put the Great Bear, a Montana icon, at risk.”
Ed Bergquist, Gardiner, MT
“Why take chances with the grizzly bear? You’re the government. Do what you do best. Go slow. When that doesn’t work, go slower”,
Mark Schwartz, White Bear Lake, MN.
MORE ARTICLES DEBUNKING DELISTING
Yellowstone’s grizzly bear population is still not recovered! Yellowstone’s population of roughly 750 grizzly bears is completely isolated from all other grizzly bear populations and much smaller than the 2000+ animals widely considered necessary for long-term viability.
Read a summary of the key claims of being made by government scientists and managers, and a response to each. its necessarily long due to the complexity of the issues presented. But its worth understanding what is really going on.
In 2009, federal endangered species protections were restored for the Yellowstone grizzly bear population in response to a court ruling that found that the government had failed to evaluate the effects of the collapse of whitebark pine, a key staple for the population. In 2013, the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team (IGBST) issued a report, “Response of Yellowstone grizzly bears to changes in food resources: a synthesis”, that concluded that whitebark pine was not essential for recovery of the Yellowstone grizzly bear. REALLY IGBST??
In the public processes related to management of Yellowstone grizzly bears during the last two decades, the public has come out swinging for bears and their habitat.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), over 850,000 comments were submitted on the 2016 proposal to remove endangered species protections (“delist”) the Yellowstone grizzly bear. Over 99% of those comments opposed delisting.