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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jim Risch today met with Dan Ashe, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to discuss the dramatic increase of the grizzly bear population in and around Yellowstone National Park in recent years. This increase has caused the number of human and grizzly bear conflicts to rise dramatically.

 “The increase in the grizzly bear population in recent years has led to more grizzly bears being in close proximity to homes, and worse, more bear and human interactions,” said Risch. “The Fish and Wildlife Service can and should make the necessary changes to keep humans safe and responsibly manage the grizzly bear population. Ashe has heard, loud and clear, that Idahoans have major concerns with grizzlies in our backyards.”

 Risch urged Ashe to pursue the process of removing grizzlies from the endangered species list with due diligence, and pushed for more flexibility for the State of Idaho to remove problem bears. Risch also pressed Ashe to develop a stricter protocol for informing state and federal agencies, as well as residents, when grizzly bears are relocated.