MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — Grizzly bear hunts scheduled for this weekend in Wyoming and Idaho have been temporarily blocked by a federal judge.
U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen's Thursday order comes as the two states prepared to open the first grizzly bear hunting seasons in the Lower 48 states since Montana's last hunt in 1991.
The ruling is a victory for wildlife advocates and Native American tribes that sued over the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's decision in 2017 to lift protections for 700 grizzly bears in and around Yellowstone National Park.
The plaintiffs had argued the bears still face threats to their survival. Federal wildlife officials say the bears are thriving.
Fewer than two dozen bears would be allowed to be killed in the hunts.