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FWP Reports Increase In Northwest Montana Bear Management Actions

Black bear stock photo.
Black bear

The most grizzly bears since 2011 were captured last year in northwest Montana, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) annual reports released Tuesday.

The reports focus on management actions in 2018 for grizzlies, black bears and mountain lions in FWP’s Region 1 – the northwest corner of the state.

The grizzly report says 20 bears were captured in 2018. Nine of those grizzlies wound up dead. That occurred in the portion of the region that contains part of the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem, home to the largest population of grizzlies in the lower 48.

FWP received about 150 calls related to grizzlies in 2018. That’s compared to an average of 100 calls per year since 1993.

The reports say FWP received nearly 1,000 calls related to black bears, compared to an average of about 800.

Estimates put the mountain lion population as high as 1,500 in the region. However, conflicts between lions and people have decreased over time. Two lions were removed from the population last year, compared to an average of six a year since 2008.

Thursday night in Bigfork, FWP and Swan Valley Connections will host a presentation on mitigating conflicts between humans and bruins at 6 p.m. at the Swan River Community Hall.

Nick Mott is a reporter and podcast producer based in Livingston, Montana.
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