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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Citing growing grizzly numbers, Livestock Loss Board requests more funding

A group of black angus cattle in a grassy field.
A group of black angus cattle in a grassy field.

As grizzly bear populations grow in Montana there are increasing conflicts with livestock and the state needs more money to pay ranchers for the losses.

To accommodate higher rates of predation, the Montana Livestock Loss Board has requested an additional nearly $150,000 to reimburse ranchers for the loss of their animals, a nearly 50 percent increase from two years ago.

The board’s director George Edwards told lawmakers on the Natural Resources and Transportation Committee that livestock loss numbers have doubled in the last decade, which he attributes to the state’s growing grizzly population.

“The grizzly bear losses just have really been ratcheting up every year, it’s not just one area of the state."

Highest losses are seen in Glacier, Lewis and Clark and Madison counties, but Edwards says it’s going the full length of the state.

According to the Department of Livestock’s loss statistics, a total of 131 animals were killed by predators in Montana last year.

This request is part of the budget bill, which will be finalized in the coming months.

Ellis Juhlin is MTPR's Rocky Mountain Front reporter. Ellis previously worked as a science reporter at Utah Public Radio and a reporter at Yellowstone Public Radio. She has a Master's Degree in Ecology from Utah State University. She's an average birder and wants you to keep your cat indoors. She has two dogs, one of which is afraid of birds.
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