Judge blocks grizzly bear hunts in Wyoming and Idaho

Posted at 10:13 PM, Aug 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-31 00:13:47-04
Grizzly bear
FILE – In this July 6, 2011, file photo, a grizzly bear roams near Beaver Lake in Yellowstone National Park, Wyo. Idaho officials are seeking public comments on rules for hunting grizzly bears in the eastern part of the state. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game says comments are being accepted through July 27, 2016, on rules that would limit Idaho hunters to one grizzly per lifetime. (AP Photo/Jim Urquhart, File)

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) – A judge has temporarily blocked the opening of grizzly bear hunts scheduled for this weekend in Wyoming and Idaho.

U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen’s Thursday order comes as the two states prepared to open the first grizzly bear hunting seasons in the Lower 48 states since Montana’s last hunt in 1991.

The ruling is a victory for wildlife advocates and Native American tribes that sued over the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision in 2017 to lift protections for 700 grizzly bears in and around Yellowstone National Park.

The plaintiffs had argued the bears still face threats to their survival. Federal wildlife officials say the bears are thriving.

Fewer than two dozen bears would be allowed to be killed in the hunts.

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