MTPR

grizzly bears

Grizzly bear family. Stock photo.
iStock

Grizzly bears in and around Montana are moving faster than the people tasked with managing them. That’s the takeaway from the year-end update from the group of federal and state wildlife experts who met this week in Missoula.

About 20 members of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, an organization in charge of grizzly bear management and recovery, crowded around a conference table, discussing the six ecosystems designated as grizzly bear habitat south of Canada.

Grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission voted today to adopt a rule to ready the state to manage grizzly bears in and around Glacier National Park if they’re removed from the endangered species list.

That rule sets mortality thresholds for grizzlies, which mean the state will manage for a total population of at least roughly 1,000 bears in part of an area known as the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem, home to the largest population of grizzlies in the lower 48. It also says the state will monitor connectivity of bears between ecosystems.

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.

Grizzly bear.
(PD)

The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission will vote on Monday to proceed with a rule related to the management of grizzly bears in and around Glacier National Park if the bears are removed from the endangered species list.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is proposing to monitor mountain lions by ecoregion to match the cats' movements across the landscape.
Montana FWP

Despite past efforts to wipe mountain lions out of Montana entirely, the big cats have made a striking recovery. Managers estimate there are now 4,000 to 5,000 lions prowling the entirety of their historic range, and their numbers are growing.

To shore up those numbers, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is proposing a new conservation and monitoring strategy that harnesses cutting-edge science to estimate population size and anticipate how hunting and other management actions could impact future generations.

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.

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 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Tuesday it no longer plans to propose removing the population of grizzly bears in and around Glacier National Park from the endangered species list this year.

"We were on track to try and have a proposal, or at least have an evaluation of recovery and a potential proposal, out by the end of the calendar year," says Hilary Cooley, the grizzly bear recovery coordinator for the Fish and Wildlife Service, at an annual meeting Tuesday on grizzlies in what’s known as the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem, or NCDE. 

iStock

A male grizzly bear cub was killed by a train near Columbia Falls last week, adding to the abnormally high number of bear mortalities in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem this year.

In the last month two adult female grizzlies were also found dead, due to natural causes, near Hungry Horse. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks reports 48 bear mortalities this year.

FWP labels any bear removed from an ecosystem as a mortality, so not all have died. Some are moved to another region or accredited zoo.

Groups File Lawsuit To Stop Eastern Idaho Gold Exploration

Nov 15, 2018
Centennial Mountains WSA
Bob Wick/ BLM California

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The federal government violated environmental laws by approving a Canadian company's plan to search for gold in key wildlife habitat in eastern Idaho, two conservation groups say in a federal lawsuit.

The Idaho Conservation League and the Greater Yellowstone Coalition in the lawsuit filed Tuesday say the U.S. Forest Service needs to halt British Columbia-based Otis Gold Corporation's five-year mining exploration project in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest.

The Vital Ground Foundation and the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative purchased this undeveloped subdivision near Troy, Montana as part of the Wild River Project.
Y2Y/Gem Visions Productions

Grizzlies in Northwest Montana are moving into areas they haven’t been seen in years, and Wednesday conservation organizations announced they’ve purchased a chunk of land near Troy that could help those bears continue to migrate and expand their territory.

The Vital Ground Foundation and the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative say they have now purchased the majority of an undeveloped subdivision near the confluence of the Kootenai and Yaak rivers.

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