But for more than a decade, conservation groups have been fighting that decision. In July, they got a win—a court ruled to keep Yellowstone’s grizzlies on the endangered species list. Like all wildlife, grizzlies are protected inside the national park. It’s what happens outside Yellowstone that has some groups concerned. Without the protection of the ESA, bears could be legally hunted if they wander out of the park.
Sarah McMillan works for WildEarth Guardians, one of the groups that faced the FWS in court. She notes that many scientists say the bears should not be taken off the list until there are between 5,000 and 10,000 of them.
“It’s not that we just want grizzlies on the list,” McMillan says. “I’d like to see them taken off, but only when they have truly recovered.”