samJ

Counterpunch:

Reintroduction alternative to delisting

Reintroduction of the grizzly into other ecosystems is the best option to expand the gene pool of the limited population in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) and keep the current protection intact. In March, 2000, USFWS plans were underway to implement a reintroduction to several ecosystems, including the Selway-Bitterroot area. Specifics of the reintroduction of the grizzly from the GYE and other ecosystems are detailed in this wonderful plan 16 years ago.

USFWS plans to initially reintroduce the grizzly into this area in 1996 and 2000 were dismissed in 2001 when George W. Bush took office and the plan was never implemented.

In December, 2014, The Center for Biological Diversity filed a petition requesting USFWS again pursue reintroduction of the grizzly into the Selway-Bitterroot in Idaho and Montana with over 16 million acres of viable bear habitat to support up to 300 bears. Still nothing transpired. Wildlife bureaucrats would have a better argument for delisting if they took the initiative 16 years ago. Misguided priorities and biopolitics impeded this great plan.

Conflicts in the 1980s

In the mid to late 1980s I worked a few federal wildlife investigations with grizzly bear conflicts in Idaho with fellow USFWS Special Agents.

Back then there were a number of USFWS law enforcement investigations from colleagues in Idaho involving grizzly conflicts with the sheep industry in Idaho and Montana. There were reports of illicit shootings and occasional poisonings with a highly toxic carbamate insecticide known as Aldicarb or Temik illegally used to lace sheep carcasses and kill predators.

One covert investigation involved foreign sheep herders in Idaho where a colleague and I tried to document their knowledge of who told them to lace a sheep carcass with a toxic poison left for a predator like a coyote or grizzly to ingest. We were investigating a bald eagle that fed on the laced sheep carcass and died. Forensics proved poisoning as the cause of death.

How evil was that.

Another incident in Idaho involved a foreign sheepherder accused of killing a grizzly at night. The sheepherder never confessed or turned in the sheep rancher who was suspect in the crime.

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