Published March 10, 2016
Contrary to what Washington D.C. wildlife bureaucrats have said for the past decades, politics have and will, in many cases, trump science. Especially when it comes to the latter part of a political administration when, miraculously, some species have an amazing “recovery” and can either be delisted, or not listed at all.
The USFWS proposed the delisting of the grizzly bear in the Yellowstone Ecosystem as of March 3rd. The world will be watching how this decision plays out in the months ahead, and any failures will be inherited by the new presidential administration. Perfect! Impeccable timing!
The 50 or so grizzly bears in the Cabinet-Yaak Ecosystem in Montana are not being considered by USFWS for greater protection, and will not be upgraded from a threatened to endangered status (http://flatheadbeacon.com/2016/02/15/conservationists-sues-cabinet-yaak-grizzly-bears/). The grizzlies in this ecosystem have been plagued by hunters mistaking them for black bears, but also are threatened by malicious kills and other man inflicted causes.
USFWS bureaucrats historically over several decades have completely lost the trust of the American public in numerous decisions involving delisting and listing procedures for a variety of species of concern. Political meddling into science- based wildlife is a long-ongoing documented pattern within USFWS upper level management.
Just Google the words “scientific misconduct by USFWS”, and one can see a continuous pattern of political selling out of wildlife resources, scientific fraud, whistleblower retaliation, and many cases of cronyism (catering to special interest groups like the wind power industry, Safari Club International, and others).
Upper level wildlife management can be part of the solution or it can be part of the problem. Many arguing for the delisting of the grizzly bear can and should blame the numerous past and recent instances of blatant scientific misconduct by upper level resource and wildlife managers for their inability to sell the public at large on this concept, even if it is in the best of interest of the grizzly bear in that ecosystem as they so often claim to believe.
Key wildlife managers are not team players, as they have alienated the 41-plus tribes that have assembled against the delisting of the grizzly bear in the Yellowstone Ecosystem. The coalition named GOAL (Guardians of Our Ancestors Legacy) has a website that details their platform and how important the grizzly bear is their cultural and religious beliefs, as well as how the tribes have been completely disrespected by disingenuous federal and state bureaucrats (http://www.goaltribal.org/#!tribes-take-fight-to-dc/ce03).
They have also alienated the leaders in both the Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park in consideration of the delisting process. Totally unconscionable! When the largest of iconic species here and around the globe are so imperiled, the message is clear that the dynamics of human existence is at a major crossroads.
Our country expects members of CITES to be team players when considering the welfare of key wildlife species across the globe. It appears to be a “do as I say, don’t do as I do” attitude which sends the wrong message to expect other governments under CITES to follow our input for increasing protection of key species in those countries. Our behavior with regards to wildlife resources here in the U.S. transcends the globe.
A disturbing pattern of diminishing large imperiled species and a failure for decades to take decisive action is painfully obvious when observing the rapidly vanishing numbers of all elephant and rhino species left in the world. We need to set the example in the U.S. if we expect other countries to follow suit with greater wildlife protective measures here. We cannot cave into consumer, development and certain so called “green energy” lobbyists at the expense of our natural resources. There is no wonder why Americans are truly fed up with establishment politics.
Sam Jojola is a retired U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Special Agent.
Editor’s Note: This commentary was first published in World Animal News. Used with permission. All rights reserved.