Yellowstone grizzlies will continue to be protected under the Endangered Species Act despite attempts by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and hunting interests to strip them from the list, a federal court ruled recently.

Cheers to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld a previous district court ruling that FWS acted contrary to the best available science when it determined that the bears near the park no longer needed threatened species protections under the ESA.

Delisting the grizzlies would have paved the way to allow several states nearby to allow hunting of the bears.

The population of Yellowstone’s storied bears had dropped to under 150 in the 1970s to more than 700 today. The total grizzly population in the mainland U.S. is just about 2,000, down from more than 50,000.

FWS contended that the Yellowstone grizzlies were a discreet population from other grizzlies and that their population had recovered.

The grizzly population already faces challenges from climate change impacts on their food supplies as well as habitat loss.