By RANIA AMPNTEL CHAFINT/Montana State News
The Gallatin County Commission announced support to delist grizzly bears from the Endangered Species Act during their meeting on Tuesday, after hearing a presentation from HAVEN, a domestic violence victims advocacy group.
The grizzly bear population has grown in recent years to where it no longer needs to be listed as endangered. “The recovery of grizzly bears is a conservation success story that we all really need to proud of,” a representative from the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks said.
Delisting the animal would allow the states of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho to come up with a conservation strategy and implement hunting season regulations to manage the number of bears, according to the representative.
The County Commission agreed to sign a letter of support to delist the animal. “We now have a pretty good understanding of the current population and the sustainability of that population,” one commissioner said.
The meeting was opened by Erica Coyle, executive director of HAVEN, who requested financial support from the commission as the organization is at risk of losing some of services in the face of potential federal cuts to the Violence Against Women Act.
HAVEN receives 20 percent of its $754,000 overall budget from the Violence Against Women Act. “Keep us in mind for funding and financial support so none of the services are at risk,” said Angie Kwilla, a survivor of domestic violence.
HAVEN has been operating for 38 years, allowing the organization to reach to victims of violence. “Without the support of Haven, I don’t think I’d be here today,” Erin Shautner said, a survivor of domestic violence.
The Bozeman police received 250 domestic violence calls in the last fiscal year, compared to Haven’s 3,000. The organization estimates that 27,000 people experience domestic violence at one point in their life in Gallatin County.
The county commission signaled a willingness to sign a proclamation for the organization in subsequent sessions.
In other action, the county commission:
- Amended the fiscal year 2017 Detention Center Budget Internal Medical Services
- Authorized the sale of a county-owned 2005 Ford Expedition XL
- Postponed hearing and acceptance of financial trend analysis