By Matt Laslo
The U-S Fish and Wildlife Service wants Grizzly Bears taken off the Endangered Species list, but the agency's effort has been blunted by the courts. Matt Laslo reports from Washington on the battle over Wyoming's Grizzlies.
MATT LASLO: In 1975 government officials worried the west could one day be grizzly-less. Using the Endangered Species Act the government became a great protector of the Bears that play a vital role in the region's ecosystem. But by 2007 the federal government recorded a massive rebound in the population, so they delisted Grizzly Bears.
DAN ASH: So we believe the Grizzly Bear is a substantial success story.
LASLO: That's Dan Ash, the head of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. He says revitalizing the Grizzly population in Wyoming and throughout the Yellowstone National Park region reveals the difficult, yet somewhat simple, mandate Congress gave the Executive Branch in 1973.
ASH: When you think about the objective of the Endangered Species Act, the purpose of the Endangered Species Act is to prevent extinction of species.
LASLO: But while federal officials were popping champagne, they ran into a problem: federal courts. Conservation groups sued and the courts sided with them, arguing global warming was threatening bears ability to sustain a healthy population. Currently Grizzly Bears are still 'called endangered,' yet their numbers are up and officials report an uncomfortable rise in bear on human encounters. Wyoming Republican Senator John Barrasso says that's why the law needs to be revised. More....