Yellowstone grizzly bear protections to be lifted

There are more than 700 grizzlies in the Yellowstone region

FILE - This July 6, 2011, file photo shows a grizzly bear roaming near Beaver Lake in Yellowstone National Park, Wyo. Grizzly bears once roamed the rugged landscape of the North Cascades in Washington state but few have been sighted in recent decades. Federal officials want to restore the population, and on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017, released a draft plan with four options, ranging from taking no action to varying efforts to capture bears from other locations and transplant them to 9,800 square miles of mostly public land surrounding North Cascades National Park. (AP Photo/Jim Urquhart, File)
FILE - This July 6, 2011, file photo shows a grizzly bear roaming near Beaver Lake in Yellowstone National Park, Wyo. Grizzly bears once roamed the rugged landscape of the North Cascades in Washington state but few have been sighted in recent decades. Federal officials want to restore the population, and on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017, released a draft plan with four options, ranging from taking no action to varying efforts to capture bears from other locations and transplant them to 9,800 square miles of mostly public land surrounding North Cascades National Park. (AP Photo/Jim Urquhart, File)

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — U.S. government officials say grizzly bears in Yellowstone National Park region are no longer threatened, and that they will lift protections that have been in place for more than 40 years.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said Thursday that the recovery of Yellowstone’s grizzlies is one of the nation’s great conservation success stories.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will turn over grizzly bear management to Montana, Idaho and Wyoming by late July.

The states plan to allow limited bear hunts outside park boundaries.

The ruling does not affect threatened grizzlies living in other areas of northwestern Montana and northern Idaho.

Grizzlies have been listed as a threatened species since 1975 when just 136 bears roamed in and around Yellowstone.

There are now more than 700 grizzlies in the Yellowstone region.