MTPR

wildlife

White-tailed deer.
(PD)

Montana wildlife managers say 91 cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD) have been found statewide so far this year. The Libby area accounts for nearly half of those detections and that number is expected to grow with results still rolling in from this year’s big game season.

State, federal and tribal representatives tasked with managing bison in and around Yellowstone National Park voted again Tuesday to reduce the herd size as animals migrate out of the park this winter. 

The Trump administration reauthorized a controversial device used to kill livestock predators Thursday, despite strong opposition. 

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.

A slide showing grizzly bear morality rates shown during Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem subcommittee of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, Dec. 3, 2019.
Nick Mott / Montana Public Radio

The last two years have been the deadliest on record for grizzlies in and around Glacier National Park. There have been at least 48 grizzly mortalities this year in the area, called the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE). As grizzly mortalities mount, bear managers in northwest Montana are trying to tackle the sources of rising deaths.

Grizzly bear recovery zones, distributions, and distinct population segments.
Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks announced Tuesday that it’s crafting a new statewide management plan for grizzly bears.

Grizzly bear track.
Jim Peaco (PD) / National Park Service

A young male grizzly that made his way into the national Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness near the Montana-Idaho border this year has made the trek back to the Libby area to den for the winter. The journey showed that grizzly bear movement into the unpopulated Bitterroot ecosystem is possible.

Grizzly bear with cubs.
(PD)

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.

Yellowstone National Park says it’s making progress reducing the number of non-native lake trout. 

Park and contract crews caught and killed over 280,000 lake trout from Yellowstone Lake between May and October, according to a press release Friday. The total tally is less than last year and the year before that, which is a good thing.

Resource conservation student Jared Smith (left) builds a beaver dam analog on Fish Creek in western Montana, along with another undergraduate and Ph.D. ecology student Andrew Lahr (right), Oct. 19, 2019.
Kevin Trevellyan / Montana Public Radio

University of Montana ecologists are researching human-made beaver dams as a potential habitat restoration tool. Early case studies show the dams could dull the impacts of climate change seen in rivers and streams. The U.S. Forest Service is looking to use the simple structures on new sites in the state, but first, officials want to better understand the science behind simulated rodent engineering.

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