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District Court judge: Yellowstone's grizzly bears must stay on endangered species list

November 23, 2009 |  1:08 pm


Billings, Mont. — A judge says the government must keep Yellowstone-area grizzly bears on the list of threatened and endangered species, denying an attempt by federal officials to reverse an earlier court ruling.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service two years ago said grizzlies in and around Yellowstone National Park had recovered from near-extermination and no longer needed protections under the Endangered Species Act.

But in September, U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy said climate change and lax regulations threatened to undermine the bears' recovery. After Molloy ordered the animals back onto the threatened list, government attorneys asked that he reconsider, saying the bear would thrive without sweeping federal protections.

In an order Tuesday, Molloy rejected the government's argument and confirmed his earlier ruling.

-- Associated Press

Photo: A family of grizzly bears in the Cougar Flats area of Yellowstone National Park. Photo credit: Steve Ard / Associated Press

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