Montana Public Radio

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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 But some environmentalists say the species isn’t ready and that the government is basing its decision on outdated science.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 300 acre-wildfire is burning on the Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge just north of Stevensville. 

Mike Granger is fire management officer for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Montana. He says the fire is the result of a slash pile burn that got out of control Friday afternoon.

Lawmakers Consider The Future Of Bison In Montana

Mar 25, 2019
Bison in Yellowstone National Park.
Josh Burnham

Debates are intensifying at the Montana Legislature over the state’s management of North America’s largest land mammal: The American bison.

Some argue bison are a critical cultural, spiritual and historical resource. Others argue bison pose a threat to the health and well-being of cattle. Now, legislators are considering a number of bills that would decide where bison are allowed to graze, and which government entity gets to make that decision.

An informational sign at the entrance of the National Bison Range near Moiese, MT.
Josh Burnham

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) have told Montana’s congressional delegation and the U.S. Department of Interior that it wants management of the National Bison Range restored to the tribes.

Under the proposal, tribal leaders would continue to prioritize bison conservation at the 19,000-acre refuge near Charlo, which the federal government would own in a trust.

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.

Fisher (Pekania pennanti), the carnivorous mustelid that co-evolved with porcupines
(U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 5)

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Wildlife advocates on Tuesday urged Montana officials to ban trapping along much of the state's border with Idaho to protect an isolated population of cat-sized predators living in old-growth forests.

Representatives of five environmental groups said in a petition to Montana wildlife commissioners that trapping is a serious threat to the Northern Rockies fisher, a fanged predator that feeds on porcupines and once ranged across at least five states.

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

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.

Hunter with a rifle.
iStock

Wildlife managers on the Flathead Reservation are seeking information on two grizzly bear shootings in October, and offering a reward for it. The two female bears were found in mid-October. A federal investigation is ongoing.

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.

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