An environmental group is suing the Trump administration for failure to update a federal recovery plan for grizzly bears and is asking the U.S. District Court in Missoula, Mont., to impose deadlines for such an update.
“The recovery plan for grizzly bears is more than 25 years old, doesn’t reflect current science and is unambitious,” said Collette Adkins, carnivore conservation director at the Center for Biological Diversity in Tucson, Ariz.
“Grizzlies now live in just a small fraction of the lands they once roamed, but there’s great habitat in the West where these magnificent animals could once again survive,” Adkins said in a news release announcing the June 27 lawsuit.
It was filed in the same court that last September relisted Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem grizzlies as threatened after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had delisted them in 2017.
“The Trump administration has attempted to halt grizzly bear recovery,” she said.
The lawsuit seeks deadlines to update the plan and an evaluation of the need to pursue recovery in areas with suitable habitat. The suit seeks an updated grizzly status review and the center says there are 110,000 square miles of potential habitat in the lower 48 states that could triple the grizzly population from fewer than 2,000 today to 6,000.
The center says there’s potential habitat in the Selway-Bitteroot in Idaho and Montana, the North Cascades of Washington, Utah’s Uinta Mountains, California’s Sierra Nevada and the Grand Canyon in Arizona.
It notes that in 2011 the USFWS said potential habitat that should be evaluated included southern Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Colorado, California, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah.