Environmental Group Celebrates Postponement of Grizzly Bear Hunt
Earthjustice, the environmental group whose motto is ‘The Earth Needs a Good Lawyer’, sent two attorneys to the Russell Courthouse in Missoula on Thursday to argue before federal Judge Dana Christensen to stop the upcoming grizzly bear hunt in Wyoming.
After several hours of testimony, Judge Christensen promised all the parties involved that he would provide some legal action before the hunt officially starts on Saturday. At 5:05 p.m. he granted a temporary restraining order which effectively halted the hunt for 14 days, to give the judge time to render a full decision.
One of the attorneys representing Earthjustice, the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, the Sierra Club, the Center for Biological Diversity, and the National Park Conservation Association, Josh Presso, said Judge Christensen made it clear that he would not release a full decision after just a few hours of testimony.
“Once the hearing closed at about 1:00 p.m. we and the other plaintiff groups moved quickly to ask the judge for a temporary restraining order which is essentially and emergency injunction request, so that no bears would be killed under this delisting decision while it’s legality is still being determined by the federal court,” said Presso. “Yesterday afternoon at 5:05, the judge issued that temporary restraining order. This means that tomorrow (Saturday) morning, there will not be bears killed by trophy hunters outside the boundaries of Yellowstone Park under the auspices of a government determination that we believe is illegal.”
Presso said Earthjustice believes that Yellowstone Park is not big enough to properly sustain the area’s grizzly bear population.
“Grizzly bears have shown that Yellowstone Park is not enough to sustain a grizzly population over the long run and you need not just Yellowstone Park but that surrounding group of national forest lands to create what’s known as the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem,” he said. “Grizzly bears are the most iconic species in the area. They’re very special and should never be subject to hunting.”
The judge did not say how long it would take to issue his final ruling and whether or not his decision would effectively restore the Greater Yellowstone grizzly bears to the Endangered Species Act.