Montana Public Radio

Endangered Species Act

Fred Allendorf speaks during a Nov. 15, 2019 meeting in Missoula about grizzly bear connectivity. The meeting was called by five independent researchers. Organizers Jake Kreilick and Mike Bader are visible in the background.
Nick Mott / Montana Public Radio

After Montana’s new Grizzly Bear Advisory Council met last week in Bozeman to map out a state management plan for the expanding grizzly bear populations near Yellowstone and Glacier national parks, researchers in Missoula railed against turning management over from federal agencies to the state.

As grizzly bear populations in Montana expand into areas where they haven’t been seen for generations, so does the number of potential conflicts with humans.

Grizzly bear track.
Jim Peaco (PD) / National Park Service

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — The mortality rate of grizzly bears in northwestern Montana has prompted a group of bear researchers to challenge whether the grizzly should be removed from federal protection.

Two grizzly bear cubs killed by a train near Trego were discovered Oct. 15, 2019.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

Conservation groups announced Monday that they sent a letter to BNSF Railway threatening a lawsuit over grizzly bears killed along its train tracks. So far this year, a record eight grizzlies from the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE) have been killed by trains.

Grizzly bears in the Lower 48 are protected as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. It’s illegal to kill them, even if it’s an accident.

A grizzly bear mother and cub in Yellowstone Park.
iStock

The state of Montana filed its final arguments late last week in the complex and controversial lawsuit over the fate of Yellowstone-area grizzly bears.

In the summer of 2017 the Department of the Interior removed Endangered Species Act protections for the roughly 700 bears estimated to live in the area at the time. Tribes and conservation groups promptly filed suit and a federal judge in Missoula restored protections for the bruins last fall

Hunter with a rifle.
iStock

State wildlife officials euthanized a grizzly bear that was suffering from a gunshot wound late last month. State and federal officials are now asking for information on who shot the bear near Whitefish.

A member of the Governor’s Grizzly Bear Advisory Council writing a note about grizzly connectivity, Oct. 2019.
Nick Mott / Montana Public Radio

Updated: 10/07/19 at 5:15 p.m.

A new council dedicated to building consensus around state grizzly management and paving the way to delisting wrapped up its first round of meetings last week.

Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Matt Hogan, U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and Montana U.S. House Rep. Greg Gianforte listen to residents of the Rocky Mountain Front talk about conflict with grizzly bears, Oct 5, 2019.
Aaron Bolton / Montana Public Radio

U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt paid a visit to the Rocky Mountain Front Saturday to hear about conflicts with grizzly bears. The secretary heard numerous calls for delisting grizzlies from their threatened species status in and around Glacier National Park, but he says changes may be able to be made prior to delisting.

Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Paul Gosar (left) looks over to Rep. Greg Gianforte (right) as he introduces him at an ESA rollbacks roundtable on Tuesday, September 24, in Washington D.C.
Congressional Western Caucus

While federal debate rages over the future of the Endangered Species Act, Montana’s representative in the U.S. House says the Trump administration's rollbacks last month don’t go far enough.

Republican Greg Gianforte introduced a bill making it easier to delist species protected by the ESA at a Congressional Western Caucus roundtable in Washington D.C. Tuesday.

Grizzly bear. Stock photo.
iStock

The U.S. Department of the Interior recently changed how federal agencies will apply rules within the Endangered Species Act. The move raises questions about protections for established grizzly bear populations in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. MTPR's Aaron Bolton explains what the rules mean for uninhabited grizzly ecosystems, like the Bitterroot National Forest.

Grizzly bear at Swan Lake Flats in Yellowstone National Park.
Jim Peaco (PD)

The U.S. Interior Department announced changes Monday to how federal agencies will apply the Endangered Species Act (ESA). There is concern that the changes could affect Yellowstone grizzly bears' threatened status in the future.

The bears' status under the Endangered Species Act has been tied up in court for years.

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