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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.

Grizzly bear with cubs.
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A record number of grizzly bears were killed this year in and around Glacier National Park. It’s the second year in a row of record deaths for the threatened species in the area, which is home to more grizzlies than anywhere in the lower 48 states.

But there’s disagreement over whether two years of record bear deaths should raise alarm bells.

 

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly named Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks as the lead agency regarding feral swine. The Montana Department of Livestock is leading the prevention effort.  

Feral swine been in the news a lot lately. While they make for an entertaining headline, wildlife managers in Montana are increasingly concerned about the damage these invasive pigs can cause to farmers, ranchers, the environment and Montana’s outdoor recreation economy. 


A grizzly bear that had been feasting on cattle along the Rocky Mountain Front near Rogers Pass was captured and killed 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.

 

Many are calling for the fast resolution to the Trump Administration's trade war with China. Among them are Montana cattle producers who see opportunity in Chinese markets.

Sheep.
iStock

U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt canceled a planned visit to Montana this week. Bernhardt had planned to meet with Montana ranchers and farmers about grizzly bear conflicts along the Rocky Mountain Front as part of his visit.

For the environmentally minded carnivore, meat poses a culinary conundrum. Producing it requires a great deal of land and water resources, and ruminants such as cows and sheep are responsible for half of all greenhouse gas emissions associated with agriculture, according to the World Resources Institute.

Cattle.
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Ranchers lost more than 37,000 cattle in Montana during the 2018 winter.

The Billings Gazette reported Sunday that the federal Livestock Indemnity Program paid out $11.1 million for the loss of more than 37,000 cattle in Montana last year.

Gilles Stockton, a rancher from Grassrange, says ranchers can’t predict all the challenges winter will bring.

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, August 21, 2019.
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.

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