Skip to Content

The Weekly News Source for Wyoming's Ranchers, Farmers and AgriBusiness Community

Sen. Cynthia Lummis introduces grizzly bear legislation

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

On Feb. 16, U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) introduced legislation titled “Grizzly Bear Management Act of 2023” alongside Sens. John Barrasso (R-WY), Mike Crapo (R-ID), James Risch (R-ID) and Steve Daines (R-MT). 

This bill would remove grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) from the endangered species list and shift management of the grizzlies to wildlife scientists in the states, according to Lummis’ press release. 

Senators perspective

“By all scientific measures, grizzly bears of the GYE are fully recovered. Reproductive numbers are stable, and the population is at or near its max capacity for the habitat. It’s time to remove grizzlies in the area from the endangered species list and allow wildlife scientists in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho to manage the populations according to science,” said Lummis. 

“Grizzly bears are an essential part of the ecosystem of  Wyoming, but keeping them listed hurts their populations more than it helps them,” she continued. “Wildlife managers living near the bears study them closely and have a better idea of population parameters than out-of-state activists. It’s time to delist the grizzly in our area and let science dictate our wildlife policy.” 

Barrasso and Daines explained the science is clear – the grizzly bear population has more than recovered in the GYE area. 

Barrasso added, “Wyoming’s good work and sound management have proven to be successful in managing the grizzly bear population in the GYE. The science over the years has been extremely clear – grizzly bears no longer need protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).”

“The last three presidential administrations – both Republican and Democrat – have determined the grizzly is recovered. It is past time Wyoming, not Washington, D.C., is in full control of managing the bear,” he added. 

Daines said, “Montanans know what’s best for our communities, public safety and the ecosystem when it comes to the grizzly bear. It’s time we return management back to the hands of local leaders.” 

According to Crapo, the act will restore responsibility to the right level. 

“Idaho’s local wildlife managers are best suited to responsibly manage grizzly bear populations while simultaneously addressing the needs of the landscape and local communities,” he said. 

Risch added, “Grizzly bears in the GYE have all hit recovery targets due to the hard work of states like Idaho. In fact, all of Idaho’s grizzly bear populations have made substantial recoveries.”

“Increasing populations and human encounters make it abundantly clear grizzlies in our state do not belong on the endangered species list. The Grizzly Bear State Management Act is an important step in delisting grizzlies in parts of Idaho, but it is time for full delisting for all grizzlies within the state,” he continued. 

Background and
organization support 

In 1975, there were 136 grizzly bears in the GYE. In 2022, experts estimated nearly 1,000 bears were living in the GYE, evidence of an effective conservation effort. The Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team’s analysis suggests the park is at or near its ecological carrying capacity for grizzly bears. 

“The GYE population of the grizzly bear is fully recovered and has been for decades by all scientific measures,” said Wyoming Game and Fish Department Director Brian Nesvik. “Sen. Lummis’ efforts through this legislation reflects our state’s need to find the best path forward to return management of this species to the states and Tribes. We look forward to working simultaneously with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) as they work towards the next steps in their process to delist.” 

Park County commissioners added, “It is time for all to recognize the grizzly bear has already achieved a healthy, robust population. It is time for the federal government to uphold its end of the agreement made with the people who live and recreate in Park County and delist the grizzly bear, and we feel the passage of this bill will do just that.”

The senators introduced the Grizzly Bear State Management Act of 2021 on March, 25, 2021. The bill was read twice and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works. 

Additionally, in relation to grizzly bear management, on Feb. 3, FWS completed the initial review of three petitions filed to remove the grizzly bear from the list of endangered and threatened wildlife under the ESA in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem, GYE and the lower 48 states.

Lummis shared support for FWS’s review. 

“This announcement is welcome news for Wyoming. Grizzly bears of the GYE, by all scientific measures, are fully recovered. Administrations of both parties have repeatedly recognized this fact,” Lummis said. 

“Grizzly bears are an essential part of Wyoming’s ecosystem, but keeping them listed hurts their population more than it helps them. I am glad Wyoming’s concerns and findings were heard, and I look forward to seeing the results of FWS’s study on the grizzly. I’m hopeful the decision to delist the grizzly is not impacted by out-of-state environmental extremists who don’t truly understand the science,” she concluded.

Brittany Gunn is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

  • Posted in Wildlife
  • Comments Off on Sen. Cynthia Lummis introduces grizzly bear legislation
Back to top