The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Tuesday that it has reinstated grizzly bears on the list of endangered and threatened wildlife in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
The move comes just over two years after the agency said the grizzly bear population had improved enough to warrant delisting the Greater Yellowstone region, which includes parts of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.
Six lawsuits were filed in federal court against that move. Conservationists had argued that the grizzly bear population remained threatened in the area and still required federal protection.
U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen of Missoula agreed and ordered in September 2018 that U.S. Fish and Wildlife put the bears back on the list. That order canceled Wyoming’s first grizzly bear hunt in four decades. The relisting announced Tuesday was taken to comply with the order, according to USFWS.
Grizzly bears remain protected under the Endangered Species Act in the five other ecosystems where they are primarily found: the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem, the Cabinet-Yaak Ecosystem, the Selkirk Ecosystem, the North Cascades Ecosystem, and the Bitterroot Ecosystem.
The relisting of Greater Yellowstone grizzlies as endangered stops plans for future grizzly bear hunts in Montana, Idaho, or Wyoming.