Imagine trying to make a living when your product, cattle in this case, is constantly threatened by the largest predator in North America, and a species that is spreading to landscapes not visited in more than 100 years. That is a reality faced on a daily basis by Trina Jo Bradley, a cattle rancher who lives along Montana’s Rocky Mountain front.
According to Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, grizzly populations in the Greater Yellowstone Area and northwest Montana tripled in size since the animals received federal protection in 1975. Wildlife managers since declared the Yellowstone population recovered and delisted it only to see environmental groups seek litigation which again caused them to be delisted.
“I would like to see the Endangered Species Act do exactly what it was written for,” Trina Jo Bradley, Montana cattle rancher, told National Public Radio. “And when a species is recovered, it’s done. And then it goes to the state to manage it.”
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation agrees with Bradley and wildlife managers. RMEF maintains that grizzly bears should be managed by state agencies just as they manage elk, wolves, deer, mountain lions and other wildlife.
“I’ve gotten calls at four in the morning. I’ve gotten calls at 8pm on a Friday night. Usually bears in people’s yards, eating apples, dog food — finding food mainly.” Wesley Sarmento, bear management specialist for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, told NPR “I certainly hear some animosity to the Endangered Species Act, because people that are living with endangered species feel that their rights are being infringed upon. That recovery goals are going beyond what was originally agreed to.”
(Photo source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)