For bears, ‘chickens are the new garbage’

Bears like chickens, which is causing headaches for bear management personnel . . .

Wildlife and land managers say they are seeing gradual acceptance and improvements in public education and outreach for grizzly bear conservation, but there also are setbacks in some areas, most notably the proliferation of bear-attracting chicken coops across Western Montana.

“The hobby chicken farmer is one of the greatest threats to the grizzly bear these days,” Chris Servheen, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grizzly bear recovery coordinator, said Wednesday in Hungry Horse.

Servheen was one of the speakers during a meeting of the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem subcommittee, a multi-agency panel that guides bear conservation and management.

As state grizzly bear management specialist Jamie Jonkel puts it, “chickens are the new garbage.”

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