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Montana news about the environment, natural resources, wildlife, climate change and more.

News briefs: Yellowstone wolf increase; invasive mussels; bear killed

Gray wolf.
Gray Wolf

Yellowstone wolf population increases despite record hunting numbers
John Hooks | Montana Public Radio

The wolf population inside Yellowstone National Park increased over the last year, largely thanks to a successful breeding season.

The Wyoming Fish & Game Department reported that there were at least 108 wolves in 10 packs as of the end of December 2022. In total, the population increased by at least 11 wolves from the previous year.

The increase comes despite hunters’ killing record numbers of Yellowstone wolves in recent years. Those numbers have increased as governments in the states bordering the park have eased restrictions and increased hunting quotas.

Inspectors find 24 boats carrying invasive mussels so far this year
Aaron Bolton | Montana Public Radio

Watercraft inspection stations across the state have intercepted 24 boats carrying invasive mussels so far in 2023, slightly higher than this time last year.

Most of those mussel-fouled boatscame from the Midwest and Southwest, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. These areas are known to be infested with invasive species such as zebra mussels.

Nearly 3,000 boats coming from states with known infestations have launched in Montana waters so far this year, and check stations have conducted nearly 11,000 inspections.

Some of these figures may be higher due to a lag in reporting over the holiday weekend.

Wildlife officials seek info on grizzly bear shot in Sanders County
Edward F. O'Brien | Montana Public Radio

Wildlife officials are seeking information about a grizzly bear killed earlier this month in Sanders County.

State game wardens and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service say the bear was shot and killed in the South Fork of the Bull River area north of Noxon in Sanders County.

The bear’s body was discovered May 24 but wildlife officials say it was killed May 16. The adult male was collared for research purposes and had no history of conflicts.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call 1-800-TIP-MONT. Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward for information leading to a conviction.

John joined the Montana Public Radio team in August 2022. Born and raised in Helena, he graduated from the University of Montana’s School of Media Arts and created the Montana history podcast Land Grab. John can be contacted at
Aaron graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism in 2015 after interning at Minnesota Public Radio. He landed his first reporting gig in Wrangell, Alaska where he enjoyed the remote Alaskan lifestyle and eventually moved back to the road system as the KBBI News Director in Homer, Alaska. He joined the MTPR team in 2019. Aaron now reports on all things in northwest Montana and statewide health care.
Edward O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the UM School of Journalism. He covers a wide range of stories from around the state.  
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