- - Wednesday, May 11, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Well, that didn’t take long (“Montana releases draft grizzly hunting guidelines,” Web, May 5). Grizzly bears haven’t even lost their Endangered Species List protection yet, and already the Walter Palmers of society are loading their guns.

It took 40 years for the grizzly bear population in and near Yellowstone National Park to rebound from as few as 136 in 1975. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in its proposal to strip these bears of their federal protection and allow the animals to be hunted, admitted that the grizzly population has leveled off and remained consistent at about 700 bears for the past 14 years. The Yellowstone ecosystem is doing what nature does when humans stop interfering: maintaining a delicate balance that ensures the survival of a healthy number of most species.

Allowing hunters to gun down any bear who steps paw outside the park would disrupt this balance that took four decades to establish, cause suffering for bears and proliferate hunting accidents as people try to enjoy Yellowstone.

The grizzly population has barely recovered. In the face of habitat destruction — and now bloodlust — it won’t be long before our majestic grizzly bears are endangered again.

MICHELLE KRETZER

PETA Foundation

Norfolk, Va.

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