courtesy of MSNBC
by Miguel Llanos
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Tuesday lost a court battle in its bid to lift federal protections for grizzly bears in the Yellowstone National Park area.
The service had been arguing that a strong rebound by the local grizzly population, now estimated at around 600, warranted lifting the protections. But a federal appeals court upheld a lower court decision, ruling that the service hadn’t properly weighed the impact of a declining food source: the whitepark pine.
The 9th Circuit Court judges wrote that a study used by the service “to demonstrate long-term grizzly population growth included data only until 2002, before the ‘epidemic of mountain pine beetles’ began to kill the region’s whitebark pines.”