Billings, MT - A U.S. judge has delayed for two more weeks the first grizzly bear hunts to be held in the Lower 48 states in almost three decades.
Thursday's ruling by U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen leaves the fate of about 700 bruins in the Northern Rockies in limbo as he considers whether federal protections for the animals should be restored.
Christensen already delayed the hunts in Wyoming and Idaho once, with an order that came two days before hunting was set to begin on Sept. 1.
Wildlife advocates and Native American tribes say bears living in and around Yellowstone National Park face continued threats to their survival.
The U.S. Interior Department in 2017 declared the animals no longer needed federal protections.
Up to 23 bears would be allowed to be killed in the hunts.