State and federal wildlife officials are investigating the shooting death of a male grizzly bear west of Whitefish.
Investigators with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks say the 4-year-old bear’s body was dumped over the Farm to Market Road bridge and into the Stillwater River sometime between May 25 and 28. It was then found downstream by recreationalists and retrieved by officials last Sunday.
It is the second grizzly bear to be shot in Montana in the past two weeks, but Ryan Moehring, a public affairs specialist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, says his agency isn’t in a position to speculate.
“Obviously that’s why we have investigations, to get to the bottom of just that,” he says.
Grizzly bears are a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, and it is illegal to kill them except in cases of self-defense.
“So the Fish and Wildlife Service and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks are asking for anyone with information on this case, or anyone who may have seen anything suspicious in the area to call one of our special agents at 406-329-3000 or 1-800-TIP-MONT,” Moehring says.
A reward up to $2,000 may be available for information leading to a conviction.