The opportunity to hunt Yellowstone-region grizzly bears has been a controversial issue for what is approaching three years. Looks like it's one for the bears.

Today (Wednesday, July 8), the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Montana District Court’s opinion that reinstated Endangered Species Act protections for the Yellowstone region’s grizzly bear population. The decision negates plans for trophy hunts in the states of Wyoming and Idaho for the first time in over 40 years.

The Northern Cheyenne Tribe, Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity and National Parks Conservation Association, argued for restoring protections to Yellowstone grizzly bears. They were represented by Earthjustice.

In August 2017, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed the Yellowstone-region grizzly bear population from the federal endangered and threatened species list. That fall, Wyoming and Idaho announced grizzly hunts that would have allowed for up to 23 bears to be killed outside of Yellowstone National Park. The Northern Cheyenne Tribe and conservation groups challenged the Fish and Wildlife Service's directive and filed a lawsuit and temporary restraining order to the block the hunt, which a district judge granted. Later the judge ruled on behalf of the tribe and conservation groups reinstating federal protections. Today, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed this decision.