May 24 (UPI) -- Wyoming lawmakers on Wednesday approved a plan to allow the hunting of grizzly bears for the first time in more than 40 years.
Hunting season will begin in the fall and take place in a designated area between Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. The hunt will end when 22 grizzly bears are killed.
Wyoming lawmakers approved the grizzly bear hunt after the Department of the Interior removed federal protections of the animal last June.
While the return to grizzly bear hunting was praised the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission and is sure to be welcome news for thousands of hunters, environmentalists said it is the wrong move.
"The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission has ignored concerns raised by Wyoming residents and national park supporters across the country by approving its destructive grizzly hunting plan," said Bart Melton, the Northern Rockies Regional Director for the National Parks Conservation Association.
Melton continued: "Visitors to Yellowstone and Grand Teton this summer may be among the last to experience the joy of seeing some of these incredible animals alive in our national parks. The grizzly bears that have gained international fame through the stories and photographs of park visitors regularly leave park borders and will be among those at risk this fall."
Wyoming's upcoming grizzly bear hunt will be the first in a state other than Alaska since Montana allowed it for one season in 1991, according to Montana Public Radio.