Montana Public Radio

Endangered Species Act

Federal wildlife managers are gearing up to remove gray wolves from the Endangered Species List. But some environmentalists say the species isn’t ready and that the government is basing its decision on outdated science. A group of biologists in four western national parks are looking at the impacts of wolf deaths on their packs and how this could affect the greater population.

A graphic of grizzly locations from collared bears within five miles of the Swan River Community Hall. Red dots are female bears and blue are males. Presented April 26, 2019.
Nick Mott / Montana Public Radio

Wildlife officials received 150 calls related to grizzly conflicts with people in northwest Montana last year, a Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) report released last week says. An event in Bigfork Thursday night was geared towards reducing those conflicts and helping the growing populations of both people and grizzlies in bear country get along.

Following a record year of deaths for grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone, state and federal wildlife managers met in Bozeman this week to discuss efforts to reduce conflicts with humans. 

Grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park.
(PD)

Bears across Montana are waking up, and state wildlife officials say it’s time to make sure anything that could tempt them towards homes is safely stored.

Dillon Tabish, spokesperson for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, says a few radio-collared grizzlies have already shown some movement out of their winter dens. And those bears are hungry.

U.S. Moves To Lift Remaining Gray Wolf Protections

Mar 14, 2019
Gray wolf.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Gray wolves in the U.S. would be stripped of federal protection and subject to hunting and trapping in more states under a proposal released Thursday that declares the predators recovered following a decades-long restoration effort.

Wolves.
David Gilkey

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — U.S. wildlife officials plan to lift protections for gray wolves across the Lower 48 states, re-igniting the legal battle over a predator that's running into conflicts with farmers and ranchers as its numbers rebound in some regions.

The proposal would give states the authority to hold wolf hunting and trapping seasons. It was announced Wednesday by acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt at a wildlife conference in Denver.

Grizzly bear. Stock photo.
(PD)

Two Montana-based environmental groups Monday announced they’re preparing to sue the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the recently enacted Flathead National Forest Plan.

Swan View Coalition and Friends of the Wild Swan say the new management plan violates the Endangered Species Act by increasing road building in sensitive habitat for grizzly bears and bull trout. They plan to file their lawsuit if the agencies don’t act within the next 60 days.

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

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Friday filed notice to appeal restored Endangered Species Act protections for Yellowstone-area grizzly bears granted by a federal judge in Missoula in September.

MTPR's Nick Mott reports on the government’s challenge to a decision that blocked the first hunts of the animal in decades.

Wyoming Files Notice It Will Appeal Grizzly Bear Ruling

Dec 6, 2018
Grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — The state of Wyoming has filed notice it will appeal a judge's decision to restore federal protections for grizzly bears in and around Yellowstone National Park.

U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen ruled in September that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service erred in removing Endangered Species Act protections for the Yellowstone bears in 2017.

Known and probable documented mortalities of grizzly bears in the NCDE from 2004 to 2018.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

2018 has been the deadliest year since scientists started keeping track for grizzlies in Northwest Montana.

"We did have a record high number of mortalities," says Cecily Costello, a grizzly bear research biologist for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and she’s talking about the huge swath of land in and around Glacier National Park, known as the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE). About a thousand bears live there.

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