For many years, grizzly bears were regularly sighted in Yellowstone National Park. But when President Trump removed Yellowstone's grizzly bears from the federal list of threatened species in 2017, the states of Idaho and Wyoming announced that it was legal to hunt them outside of the national park.
“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s own estimate of the Yellowstone population dropped from 757 in 2014, to 695 in 2016,” says EarthJustice Magazine. One of the reasons why the grizzly bear population was in decline was due to the actions of humans. Hunters regularly mistake the bears for black bears, which are legal to hunt, and end up killing the grizzly bears instead. When the grizzly bear was put on the endangered species list, the population sky-rocketed.
In 2018, when the state of Montana announced they would legalize the hunting of grizzly bears, both local residents and a team from EarthJustice, an organization that works to protect the wildlife of North America, got to work. The EarthJustice team took the lead in filing a lawsuit to attempt to convince a court of Montana to protect the grizzlies by stopping a scheduled “trophy hunt.” People lined up around the courthouse, including William Walksalong, a member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe. He said, “I think if the grizzlies could speak human they would say ‘leave us alone with your laws and interpretations. We just want to raise our children.’” Even EarthJustice veteran managing attorney Tim Preso was ready to act. After the long battle, EarthJustice attorney Josh Purtle got an email from the courthouse. “The judge granted the motion and delayed the hunt for 14 days.”
Two weeks later, on September 24, the judge ruled in favor of EarthJustice. If the scheduled hunt had taken place, more than 23 grizzly bears would have been killed. This ruling resulted in a major victory for the grizzlies.
[Source: EarthJustice Magazine]