Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, July 7, 2022


Andrea Zaccardi, Center for Biological Diversity, (303) 854-7748,
Bonnie Rice, Sierra Club, (406) 640-2857,

Appeal Challenges Federal Plan Authorizing Killing of 72 Grizzlies Near Yellowstone

PINEDALE, Wyo.— The Center for Biological Diversity and Sierra Club filed an appeal today challenging a federal plan authorizing the killing of up to 72 grizzly bears to accommodate livestock grazing in Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest, near Yellowstone National Park.

Today’s filing appeals a May ruling by the U.S. District Court of Wyoming, which backed the Trump administration-approved plan allowing the bears to be killed.

“We’re determined to stop this terrible plan, which could be a death sentence for dozens of Yellowstone grizzly bears,” said Andrea Zaccardi, carnivore conservation legal director at the Center. “The federal government shouldn’t be killing native species so the livestock industry can graze cattle on public lands for next to nothing. We believe the court’s decision was flawed, and we’ll continue to fight for the lives of these magnificent bears.”

The court’s opinion contained several legal flaws. For example, the court erred when it determined that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s analysis discussing the project’s impacts to bears was legally sufficient, even after acknowledging that the agency’s analysis lacked a discussion of how many females could be killed under the project.

The plaintiffs argued that the mitigation measures contained within the biological opinion were insufficient to protect grizzly bears because they were vague, unenforceable, and uncertain to occur. The court held that the project would not jeopardize the grizzly bear population even if the mitigation measures do not occur, even though the agency never made such an assertion and explicitly relied on the measures when making its no-jeopardy determination.

“The intentional killing of dozens of grizzly bears is a slap in the face to decades of recovery efforts in the Greater Yellowstone region,” said Bonnie Rice, senior representative for the Sierra Club in the Greater Yellowstone region. “We cannot allow these bears to be killed when a wide range of effective, non-lethal measures are available to livestock producers. The priority should be requiring and enforcing conflict prevention measures and promoting coexistence and safety for bears and people.”

The parties and court will next set a briefing schedule in the hopes of receiving an appellate decision before the grazing season begins next spring.

Female Grizzly Eating Grass. Credit: Terry Tollefsbol/NPS. Image is available for media use.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3.5 million members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism.

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