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Lifting Protections on Grizzly Bears Recommended

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BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — A subcommittee of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee is recommending lifting federal protections for grizzly bears in the Yellowstone National Park area.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports the subcommittee made its conditional recommendation Thursday during a meeting in Bozeman. The recommendation was based on data from a nearly complete report on whitebark pine. Pine nuts are a key food source for grizzlies. The recommendation is expected to be presented to the full committee next month in Missoula.

The committee can then pass it on to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem lost Endangered Species Act protection in 2007. A federal judge restored their threatened status in 2009, in part over  concerns that whitebark pine trees were dying due to pine beetles and a fungus.

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