In June of 2017, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) proposed to designate the grizzly bear population in the so-called Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem as a “distinct population segment,” meaning it is a “discrete” but “significant” part of the national grizzly bear population. In addition, the agency found, after extensive research and careful monitoring, that the region’s grizzly bear population exceeded the minimum population goal set by scientists in 2013, was recovered fully, and was no longer in danger of becoming extinct. (There is only a one percent chance the grizzly bear could become extinct within the next 100 years.) Therefore, the FWS removed the region’s grizzly bear population from any Endangered Species Act listing, which allows Wyoming wildlife officials to manage grizzly bear populations in the Equality State.
Starting in the summer of 2017, various environmental groups and American Indian tribes sued to reverse the agency’s action, including a lawsuit filed in Montana. On February 28, 2018, MSLF filed a motion to intervene on behalf of its clients.