MTPR

grizzly bears

Coal train
(PD)

A family of grizzly bears was killed by two different trains near Glacier National Park earlier this month. 

An adult female was killed while grazing along train tracks about two miles east of Marias Pass early in the morning on June 6th. Later that day, her two yearling cubs, both males, were killed by another train in the same area.

A subadult male grizzly bear was euthanized after it repeatedly broke into a chicken coop and killed several chickens off Farm to Market Road between Kalispell and Whitefish.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

Glacier National Park Monday announced that rangers euthanized a black bear in the Lake McDonald Lodge area after finding it had broken into a concession employee housing cabin. Nobody was present in the cabin at the time. The bear matched the description and photos of a bear who had been reported multiple times in the area since Memorial Day weekend.

Map showing the area between estimated occupied grizzly bear range in the NCDE to the north and the GYE to the south.
Lisa Landenburger, USGS - Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team. Public domain. Source: Peck et al. 2017.

The Trump Administration Friday asked a federal appeals court to remove Endangered Species Act protections for Yellowstone-area grizzly bears.

Former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke stripped federal protections for those bears in 2017, but a federal judge in Missoula returned the grizzlies to the endangered species list last fall. That move cancelled what would been the first grizzly hunts in the lower 48 in decades, scheduled in Wyoming and Idaho.

Hilary Cooley, the grizzly bear recovery coordinator for the Fish and Wildlife Service, presenting at an annual meeting on grizzlies in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem, Nov. 20, 2018.
Nick Mott / Montana Public Radio

The Trump Administration must decide by Friday whether to appeal a ruling from a federal judge in Missoula last fall that put Yellowstone-area grizzly bears back on the endangered species list.

Airedale Terrier puppy Hilda wanders across Gene Swanson's driveway. Swanson relies on Airedales to help prevent conflicts with grizzly bears at his ranch near Augusta, MT.
Rosie Costain / Montana Public Radio

Grizzly bear populations across the state are growing, as is talk about how to minimize human-bear conflict. A Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks report released in April showed wildlife officials in northwest Montana received about 150 calls related to grizzly conflicts last year.

Some people, like residents of the Rocky Mountain Front, have dealt with the bears for a long time. MTPR's Rosie Costain reports on one of these conflict-reducing methods: dogs.

A bill that would ban sport hunting of grizzly bears in the lower 48 states gets a hearing in a U.S. House committee Wednesday. It would extend protections for grizzlies even if they’re removed from the endangered species list.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

A bill that would ban sport hunting of grizzly bears in the lower 48 states gets a hearing in a U.S. House committee Wednesday. It would extend protections for grizzlies even if they’re removed from the endangered species list.

Grizzly bear historic and current range.
Lisa Landenburger, USGS - Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team. Public domain. Sources: IUCN, M. Proctor, Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team.

At their peak, grizzly bears numbered more than 50,000 in the Lower 48. They roamed from the West Coast to the Great Plains, from northern Alaska to central Mexico. Facing threats from habitat loss, hunting and conflicts with people and livestock, their numbers dwindled to fewer than 1,000 in the lower 48 by the time the Endangered Species Act (ESA) was implemented in 1975. Today, managers say the Greater Yellowstone and Northern Continental Divide populations have recovered and are ready for delisting. Here's a timeline of the management actions, court cases and notable events that have shaped grizzly bear recovery since their ESA listing through today.

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — Montana wildlife officials euthanized a young male grizzly bear after it repeatedly broke into a barn in the Blackfoot Valley to access grain.

A grizzly bear visiting a wire hair snag station near Glacier National Park.
Glacier National Park (PD)

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — Glacier National Park officials plan to capture and mark 10 female grizzly bears as part of an ongoing effort to monitor the population in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem.

The Daily Inter Lake reports park officials announced Wednesday that the trapping efforts will continue through October at various spots in the Montana park.

Map showing the area between estimated occupied grizzly bear range in the NCDE to the north and the GYE to the south.
Lisa Landenburger, USGS - Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team. Public domain. Source: Peck et al. 2017.

Don’t expect the federal government to propose removing grizzly bears in Northwest Montana from the endangered species list anytime soon, officials say.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Grizzly Bear Recovery Coordinator Hilary Cooley says it’s complicated trying to prove in court that the grizzly population is recovered.

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