A judge has ruled a small population of grizzly bears near the Canadian border -- in both Montana and Idaho -- can be considered endangered, even if they are not on the brink of extinction.
U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen's order Monday reversed the 2014 re-classification by U.S. wildlife officials for the forty or fifty bears of the Cabinet-Yaak bear population under the federal Endangered Species Act.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials said that the bear population had stabilized, and that its status should be "threatened" -- but not on a waiting list for classification as endangered.
The conservation group Alliance for the Wild Rockies sued -- and Christensen sided with the group.
The bears live about 300 miles from grizzlies near Yellowstone National Park that lost federal protection status in July.
by MATT VOLZ