Montana won't hunt Yellowstone grizzly bears in 2018

(AP) - The Latest on removing Yellowstone region grizzly bears from federal protections (all times local):

    

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1:30 p.m.

    

Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter is welcoming the delisting of grizzlies in Yellowstone and says the state is ready to start managing the bears.

    

Otter says Idaho has been on the forefront of Yellowstone grizzly bear recovery for many years and that the population has been recovered for more than decade.

    

He says officials in the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and Office of Species Conservation will review the final delisting before making any decisions about specifics.

    

State officials say it's too early to discuss a possible grizzly bear hunting season in Idaho.

    

Grizzlies have been protected under the Endangered Species Act for more than 40 years.

    

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12:45 p.m.

    

Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead has praised the decision to take grizzlies in Yellowstone off the threatened species list, calling it long overdue.

    

Grizzlies have been protected under the Endangered Species Act for more than 40 years.

    

Mead says grizzly numbers have sufficiently recovered to justify removing the big bears from federal protection. He says he asked the Interior Department in 2013 to delist grizzly bears and is glad to see that finally happening.

    

The announcement means grizzlies in Wyoming outside Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks will be under the control of state wildlife managers by late July.

    

State officials could decide to allow grizzlies to be hunted in limited numbers.  Mead gave no guidance on when that decision might be made.

    

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12:03 p.m.

    

U.S. government officials say grizzly bears in Yellowstone National Park region are no longer threatened, and that they will lift protections that have been in place for more than 40 years.

    

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said Thursday that the recovery of Yellowstone's grizzlies is one of the nation's great conservation success stories.

    

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will turn over grizzly bear management to Montana, Idaho and Wyoming by late July. The states plan to allow limited bear hunts outside park boundaries.

    

The ruling does not affect threatened grizzlies living in other areas of northwestern Montana and northern Idaho.

    

Grizzlies have been listed as a threatened species since 1975 when just 136 bears roamed in and around Yellowstone.

    

There are now more than 700 grizzlies in the Yellowstone region.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

6/22/2017 12:37:31 PM (GMT -7:00)

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