Jane Goodall Joins Campaign to Save Grizzly Bears from Hunting in Wyoming
Jane Goodall joined local and international conservationists this week to intervene with the first grizzly hunting season in Wyoming in more than 40 years.
Amidst heated debate this spring, the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission unanimously approved the permitted hunt of up to 22 Yellowstone grizzly bears this autumn, between seven hunting zones in a region east and south of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.
This month, the application process for those hunting permits was held.
A Grizzly Hunting Season
Licenses are awarded to applicants based upon a randomized computer drawing. The names drawn will be given the opportunity to accept their 10-day window, pending their license payment and confirmation of a completed firearms safety course. Residents of Wyoming will owe $600 while out-of-state applicants owe ten times more.
The habitat of Yellowstone grizzlies extends into parts of Montana and Idaho. The number of grizzlies in this region has grown to about 700 from 136 in 1975 when they were listed as a threatened species.
In 2017, due to the increased population of grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed the federal protection of this threatened species designation.
Idaho is permitting one hunting license. Montana did not approve grizzly hunting for this autumn.
Hunting season begins Sept. 1, except for a zone closest to the national parks, where the season is delayed until Sept. 15. All areas will close their hunting season by Nov. 15.
In that inner zone, known as the Demographic Monitoring Area (DMA), a limited number of hunters will be allowed at a time. This restriction is in place to ensure that the total quota of bears killed does not surpass ten males and one female bear, or sow. Once these numbers are reached, the hunting season will be closed, and no further permits will be offered.
The killing of any young bear cubs, or females with cubs in their care, is strictly prohibited.
22 is less than half of the 56 known or suspected deaths of Yellowstone grizzlies last year. 40 of the deceased bears were killed by people, and 19 killings were recorded as actions of self-defense, by elk hunters or others.
Ranchers in west Wyoming see hunting as a means to control a predator that often targets their sheep and cattle. However, environmentalists argue that this season will undo the progress of rehabilitation of the grizzly population since their threatened species designation.
The license application program began on July 2 and was shut down at midnight on July 16. During this time, Famous conservationists such as Jane Goodall and Cynthia Moss have entered the campaign for one of these grizzly hunting licenses, hoping to flood the computerized random selection with people who don’t intend to actually shoot a bear. From their platform, they added fire to a campaign which “has caught hunting officials off guard,” according to National Geographic.
Shoot ‘Em With A Camera, Not A Gun
The “Shoot ‘Em With A Camera, Not A Gun” campaign was pitched to the newspaper in Jackson Hole after 19 locals met to discuss their concerns about the new hunting policy. After publication, the idea grew with the help of social media.
To raise the fees for both the application and permit, if awarded, the group started a GoFundMe which was shared 22 thousand times on Facebook and raised more than $30k in nine days.
“I think we surprised ourselves at how much public support this has gotten in so little time,” Jackson Hole conservationist Lisa Robertson said.
If chosen at random, many say they would plan to still take their time slot and track the animals, hoping to snap photographs of the grizzlies.
According to chief game warden at the Wyoming Game and Fish Department Brian Nesvik, the campaign added further drama to an already controversial debate and decision made to authorize the legal hunting of Yellowstone grizzly this year.
“This is more about taking away hunting opportunity than having an impact on our population management objective,” Nevski told National Geographic.
Applicants will be notified via email 24 hours before the draw for permits begins. They will be drawn on a rolling basis as the hunting season progresses. The ‘Shoot ‘Em With a Camera’ campaign Facebook page is advocating bear safety courses for those who may head into the habitat of these animals this fall with their cameras.