To the Editor:
Recently, several bears have been sighted in the Vienna/Oakton area. In Virginia we’re fortunate to share our wild back yards with our wild neighbors. However, some states may not be as lucky, if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has their way.
The USFWS is making decisions for wildlife management that don’t bode well for the recovery of the species they’re supposed to be protecting. Their recent proposal to delist Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) grizzly bears from the Endangered Species Act is premature and threatens the very existence of this population. Their numbers are far too low, only around 700, and don’t represent a healthy, recovered population that is large enough to be stable and to withstand trophy hunting.
If we lose grizzly bears in the Yellowstone area, we risk losing part of what makes the region so incredible. GYE grizzlies are the most famous in the world and draw in millions of tourists looking to spot the large, rare species. Not to mention the significant impact those tourist dollars have on the local communities and businesses.
The public has 60 days to provide comments to USFWS on this proposed plan to delist Yellowstone area grizzly bears. I plan to submit comments opposing this plan and encourage others to the same.