Montana Public Radio

Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

 

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks announced Mar. 11 that encounters between people and grizzly bears in the southern part of the state were higher in 2019 than in recent years. The number of injuries has stayed about the same.

Grizzly bear.
(PD)

Conservation groups Tuesday announced plans to sue the Trump Administration over a decision that would allow federal officials to kill or remove more than 70 grizzly bears over the next decade near Yellowstone. Officials say this is necessary because of increasing conflicts with people and property on U.S. Forest Service land.

Frank Van Manen, team leader at the United States Geological Survey's Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team, presents at an annual meeting of bear managers in Missoula, MT, December 17, 2019.
Nick Mott / Montana Public Radio

Bear managers pushed back on recent concerns over grizzly bear deaths during a meeting of state and federal wildlife officials in Missoula Tuesday.

Grizzly Bear Advisory Council Struggles With ‘Herculean’ Challenge In Missoula

Dec 6, 2019
Grizzly Bear Citizen Advisory Council members Caroline Byrd, left, and Trina Jo Bradley, right, listen as council member Chad Bauer addresses Gov. Steve Bullock at an advisory council meeting in Missoula Dec. 5.
Alex Sakariassen / Montana Free Press

MISSOULA — Chad Bauer, a member of Gov. Steve Bullock’s Grizzly Bear Citizen Advisory Council, expressed a sense of urgency and unease on the second morning of the council’s Dec. 4-5 meeting in Missoula. Bauer and Bullock sat across from each other in a crowded conference room on the University of Montana campus. Bullock had recently announced the end of his presidential campaign, and Bauer, who works as a municipal market manager for Missoula waste hauler Republic Services, was three months into his role on the council. Bullock has given the council the task of delivering recommendations on the future of state grizzly bear management by the end of next summer.

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.

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

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.

Correction: A previous version of this story stated the hunter was taken to Ruby Valley Medical Center in Sheridan, Wyoming. The Ruby Valley Medical Center is in Sheridon, Montana. YPR News regrets the error.

Another hunter survived a grizzly bear attack Tuesday in the western Gravelly Mountains. The attack happened between the Coal Creek Drainage and Eureka Basin Road, according to a press release from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. It was about eight miles south of where three other hunters were injured last week in two separate grizzly bear attacks.

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.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Tuesday that it officially placed grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem back on the endangered species list, complying with a 2018 court order.

The Fish and Wildlife Service removed Greater Yellowstone bears from the federal endangered species list in 2017, saying the population was distinct and that it no longer needed endangered species protections.

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