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Help save the grizzlies

Dear Editor:Delisting of Yellowstone grizzly bears from Endangered Species Act protections is being proposed; this will decide the fate of Yellowstone’s wildlife and wildlands. Grizzly bears are not “recovered” and should not be removed from protections at this time. Protect wildlife, public lands, national parks and forests, our national natural heritage. More energy conservation efforts must be taken, before we are deprived of these national treasures, forever.Grizzly bears and wildlife are important to the greater Yellowstone region and all western states. Wildlife including grizzly bears, their habits and habitats are essential to the continued healthy functioning biological processes throughout these spectacular wild ecosystems. Endangered Species Act protections provided for grizzly bears have kept Yellowstone from being systematically and significantly reduced biologically both in numbers and species diversity, and in total wildland acreage, which are important for Yellowstone, the world’s first national park and a designated World Heritage Site of Cultural and Natural Significance, to continue into the future.All aspects of the tourism industry in western states depend on healthy wildlife populations including grizzly bears, all of which will be compromised if grizzly bear delisting occurs. Serious concerns with delisting Yellowstone grizzly bears from Endangered Species Act protections are many. First, several major grizzly bear food resources are imperiled. Second, there is no responsible source of funding for grizzly bear protection efforts if grizzlies are delisted. Third, human encroachment, developments and many activities are increasing significantly in the Yellowstone ecosystem. Also, secure grizzly habitats that may connect the small and isolated Yellowstone grizzly bear population to other grizzly populations to the north in Canada are constantly being lost. Delisting the grizzly bears of Yellowstone would make all of these situations more difficult. This may allow exploitation in these wildlands, which could destroy wildlife populations, diminish all aspects of the tourism industry and have many negative impacts on Yellowstone and grizzly bears, other areas may follow.Your comments are critical before March 20. You can send them by mail to: Grizzly Bear Recovery Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, University Hall 309, University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812. Or e-mail to FW6_grizzly_yellowstone@fws.gov. Write or call your representatives and urge them to support HR 1204, the Rockies Prosperity Act, which would ensure the creation of viable linkage corridors between protected areas along the U.S. northern Rocky Mountains. It has good support already from representatives and must be allowed to succeed. The Endangered Species Act works; unfortunately, it is being considered for change by the Senate. This effective act should not be compromised. Call your senators at the Capitol switchboard, (202) 224-3121; urge them to protect the Endangered Species Act and grizzly bears.Conservation organizations including Great Bear Foundation, Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife and Natural Resources Defense Council have excellent information on their websites; these are extremely important issues.Eric BindseilSnowmass Village


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