The U.S. Department of Interior announced it intends to lift endangered species protections for the population of grizzly bears living in the greater Yellowstone region on Thursday. reports that the decision, effective by the end of July, will turn over management of the animals to Montana, Wyoming and Idaho.  Calling the recovery of the Grizzly population around Yellowstone one of America’s great conservation successes, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said it’s time to return the overall management to the states and tribes.

The decision to de-list the Yellowstone Grizzly was praised by both the Montana and Wyoming congressional delegations, but the decision was criticized by several environmental groups.  Spokesmen for the Western Environmental Law Center said an isolated population of 700 grizzlies– no longer in need of federal protections– is absurd.  A final ruling can be expected by late July.

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