Associated Press reports:
HELENA, Mont. — Wildlife advocates will use the courts to try to force the U.S. government to evaluate whether Yellowstone National Park bison are a threatened or endangered species after federal officials rejected their petition earlier this year to protect the national mammal.
Western Watersheds Project, Buffalo Field Campaign and Friends of Animals on Monday filed a 60-day notice of their intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Department of Interior. The groups say Fish and Wildlife Service officials did not consider how dramatically the Yellowstone bison’s range has been reduced or how the continued hunting and slaughter of the animal threatens its existence.
“Instead of allowing these bison to behave like bison and move with the seasons, government agencies are practicing indiscriminate killing that is destroying their genetic diversity,” said Michael Connor, the California director of Western Watersheds Project. “Protection under the Endangered Species Act is the only way to counter these government management inadequacies and other threats.”
Despite their restriction of movement, the Yellowstone herd’s population is stable and increasing, the Fish and Wildlife Service said in its decision to reject two petitions seeking federal protections for the animals.
“We find the petitions do not present substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted for Yellowstone bison,” the agency’s decision said.
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Source; Associated Press