In Wyoming, Wildlife managers are offering up to $2,000 for information about the illegal killing of a grizzly bear.
On Sept 9, wildlife officials found a bear’s carcass in the Crow Creek drainage area on the Wind River Reservation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said in a statement.
The federal government protects grizzly bears in the Yellowstone region as a threatened species. Illegally killing one is punishable by up to six months in prison and a $25,000 fine. In addition, the U.S. government protects Grizzly bears from harm in the lower 48 states.
The agency has not released other details on how the suspect(s) killed the bear.
A representative from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service told Fox News that a local agent had identified several suspects, but the agency has yet to arrest someone. The agency also reported several other wildlife crimes in the area, including a shooting that resulted in the death of 20 elks.
Federal law protects bears, but exceptions are made for self-defense cases.
After going through an application and lottery process, Alaska residents are allowed to hunt grizzly bears.
Anyone with information on the case should call the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes Fish and Game Department at 307-330-3208. They can also reach an FWS special agent at 307-332-7607 or [email protected]
Grizzly Bear Overpopulation Frusterates Western Ranchers
The National Wildlife Federation classified Grizzly bears as a threatened species after humans excessively overhunted them. As of today, there are less than 1,500 grizzlies left in the United States south of Canada. In Alaska, there are about 31,000 Grizzly bears remaining.
According to NPR, since the Endangered Species Act listed Grizzly bears as threatened, populations in Montana and Yellowstone have tripled in size.
Rancher Trina Jo Bradley says she feels frustrated after the rise in bear populations caused her to take precautions. After bears started migrating from mountains into more populous regions, more ranchers began being more cautious.
Ranchers have started storing food for their cattle in a raised, bear-proof containers as a necessary precaution. Their neighbors have also lined entire pastures with electric fencing.
“As long as they mind their own business and stay out of my cows, I could really care less if they’re here,” Bradley says. “I enjoy having them here and I think most ranchers do.”
According to wildlife specialists, as climate change’s effects narrow, the West gets more crowded, and bears move into areas they haven’t accessed in 100 years.
“I would like to see the Endangered Species Act do exactly what it was written for,” she says. “And when a species is recovered, it’s done. And then it goes to the state to manage it.”