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Petition Filed to Reintroduce Grizzly Bears to Selway-Bitterroot of Idaho and Montana

Proposal Would Revive Stalled 14-year-old Federal Grizzly Repopulation Plan

VICTOR, Idaho— The Center for Biological Diversity filed a petition today requesting that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service develop a new rule to reintroduce grizzly bears to the Selway-Bitterroot ecosystem in central Idaho and western Montana. The agency first initiated a plan to return grizzly bears to the area in 1996 and in 2000 finalized a reintroduction plan. But after George W. Bush took office in 2001, the plan went into limbo. Today’s petition seeks to reinitiate the effort. 

"Grizzly bears live in less than 4 percent of their historic range and need to be reintroduced into the Selway-Bitterroot to have any shot at real recovery," said Andrea Santarsiere, a staff attorney at the Center. "The Service has repeatedly committed to reestablishing a grizzly bear population in this region. We’re just asking them to move forward with that commitment." 

The Selway-Bitterroot was recognized as one of six grizzly bear recovery areas in the 1993 recovery plan for the species, which noted the importance the Selway-Bitterroot could play in connecting isolated bear populations, particularly the isolated population in Yellowstone National Park. The Selway-Bitterroot, however, remains the only established recovery area without any documented resident grizzly bears. 

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Contact: Andrea Santarsiere

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Media Contacts:
Mike Stark, Communications Director
mstark@biologicaldiversity.org, (520) 623-5252 ext. 315

Andy Parker, Media Specialist – Endangered Species
aparker@biologicaldiversity.org, (503) 310-5569

Patrick Sullivan, Media Specialist – Climate Change, Fracking
psullivan@biologicaldiversity.org, (415) 632-5316

Russ McSpadden, Communications Associate – Media Photos
rmcspadden@biologicaldiversity.org

Banner photo courtesy Flickr/Lalo Pangue; ringed seal courtesy National Marine Mammal Laboratory/NOAA