Grizzly Bear Recovery
On April 18, 2007, the Fish and Wildlife Service announced the initiation of a 5-year review of grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) (as listed in the lower 48 States excluding the Greater Yellowstone Area population) and 8 other species (72 FR 19549). We conducted reviews to ensure that our classification of each species as threatened or endangered on the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants is accurate. A 5-year review is an assessment of the best scientific and commercial data available at the time of the review.
Grizzly bears were listed as a threatened species in 1975 in the conterminous 48 States. In 1999, the Fish and Wildlife Service first issued a warranted but precluded finding to uplist the Selkirk Mountains recovery zone population to endangered status. As noted in the recently published Annual Notice of Findings on Resubmitted Petitions, this uplisting action continues to be precluded by higher priority listing actions (see the species assessment form for additional information on why reclassification is warranted but precluded).
Current grizzly bear distribution has been reduced to 5 areas in the western United States, including the Selkirk Mountains in northern Idaho and northeast Washington, and southeast British Columbia. Populations are estimated to be 40-50 animals within the 2,200 square-mile Selkirk Mountains recovery zone. Threats to the species in this recovery zone include incomplete habitat protection measures (motorized access management), overutilization by human-caused mortality, small population size, and population fragmentation that produce genetic isolation. The Service assigned a listing priority number of 3 to this population due to continuing high levels of human caused mortality in British Columbia and new genetic information indicating the population is isolated and has declined in genetic diversity relative to both adjacent populations.