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Bear Fight

TOM MANGELSEN/AP PHOTO

JIM MCMAHON/MAPMAN®

This fall, Wyoming will allow the legal hunting of grizzly bears in the areas surrounding Yellowstone National Park for the first time in four decades. But wildlife conservationists have expressed concerns that the hunt could have a negative effect on the grizzly population. The area’s bears had been nearly wiped out by 1975, when just 136 remained. Since gaining a protected status, the grizzlies’ numbers have rebounded to around 717 today.

State officials say hunting is needed to manage this growing grizzly population. “We hope that hunting will reduce the number of conflicts between people and bears,” says Renny MacKay of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

*After press time, a federal judge ruled to temporarily halt the hunting of grizzly bears in the areas around Yellowstone National Park until the health of the bear population can be studied more thoroughly.

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