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News & Releases
Mountain-Prairie Region

News Release

Grizzly Bears in Lower-48 States to Retain Threatened Status Under Endangered Species Act

Determination made by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service following completion of five-year status review

For Immediate Release

March 31, 2021

DENVER – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is recommending no change to the current listed status of the grizzly bear in the lower-48 states as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) following the completion of a five-year status review. This recommendation follows a thorough review of the best available science, informed by an independently peer-reviewed species status assessment.

An adult Grizzly bear with chestnut brown fur walks through deep snow
A grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) in Grand Teton National Park. Credit: Joe Lieb, USFWS

The grizzly bear is listed under the ESA as a single entity in the lower-48 states. As such, the status review and recommendation is made to the listed species as a whole. Although grizzly bear populations in the Northern Continental Divide and Greater Yellowstone ecosystems are biologically recovered, five-year status reviews must evaluate the status of a species as it is currently listed under the ESA to ensure it is receiving the appropriate level of protection.

The five-year status review is informed by a peer-reviewed species status assessment, which includes the best available scientific information. The assessment evaluated the species’ current needs, conditions and threats and model future scenarios. It also involved significant contributions from scientific experts, including an independent peer review as well as review by partners at federal, state and Tribal agencies.

Progress toward recovering the species has been made through close partnerships with local, state, federal and Tribal agencies since the original listing in 1975. This work among recovery partners is a significant factor in the species not being listed as endangered. However, considerable challenges remain to fully recover the grizzly bear in the lower-48 states, resulting in the recommendation to continue listing it as threatened. These remaining challenges include limited habitat connectivity, management of access by motorized vehicles, human-caused mortality and uncertainty surrounding future conservation efforts in some ecosystems. The Service looks forward to continuing grizzly bear conservation work with partners at local, state, Tribal and federal agencies to fully recover the species.

To learn more about grizzly bears, please visit the species profile page; bear safety information is available from the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee. You can also visit our website to learn more about 5-year status reviews and Species Status Assessments.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen in the West, visit our website, or connect with us through any of these social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, and Instagram.

– FWS –

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Office of External Affairs

Mountain-Prairie Region

134 Union Blvd

Lakewood, CO 80228


303-236-3815 FAX



Joe Szuszwalak
(303) 236-4336

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The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with Others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American People.
Last modified: March 31, 2021
All Images Credit to and Courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Unless Specified Otherwise.
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