A federal judge has extended a temporary ban on grizzly bear hunting near Yellowstone National Park while he mulls the animal’s fate.
In 2017 the federal government removed Endangered Species Act protections for Yellowstone-area grizzlies. Soon after, Idaho and Wyoming decided to allow people to hunt them.
But environmental groups and tribes sued over the delisting. A federal judge is taking his time making a decision and just extended the hunting ban for another two weeks.
Matthew Bishop is an attorney for the plaintiffs. He says this is a good sign.
"The more time the court spends looking at the legal issues and the best available science I think the better chances my clients have to prevail in the case," Bishop says.
Wyoming wildlife official Rebekah Fitzgerald hopes the species is not re-listed. She says her state has a strong grizzly conservation plan, "... for not only the bear populations as a whole, but that also allows for a conservative hunting season."
Before the hunting ban took effect, Wyoming and Idaho approved around two dozen bears to be killed outside Yellowstone’s boundaries.
Find reporter Amanda Peacher on Twitter @amandapeacher.
Copyright 2018 Boise State Public Radio
This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.