Tag Archives: grizzly bear recovery

Another grizzly sighting confirmed in northern Big Belts

Grizzly Bear - courtesy NPS
Grizzly Bear – courtesy NPS

As this Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks press release reveals, grizzlies continue to spread out into their old range on the high plains . . .

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ biologists have confirmed a grizzly bear sighting on a ranch in the northern Big Belt Mountains.

The sighting is the second in the Big Belts this summer and is likely two separate bears.

The first sighting was 3-year subadult male northwest of White Sulphur Springs, confirmed through photos taken by FWP trail cameras.

The second sighting was confirmed from a video of the bear on private land in the area between the Missouri River and Hound Creek, south of Cascade. The bear also is a subadult male.

No conflicts with the bear have been reported.

This is the third grizzly bear sighting this year in areas the species has not been present for, perhaps, a century.

In June, a pair of grizzlies apparently came down the Teton River from the Rocky Mountain Front and ended up near Stanford, east of Great Falls. The young bears were captured and euthanized after they preyed on livestock.

In recent years, bears have traveled the river corridors – Sun, Marias, Dearborn and Teton – east from the Rocky Mountain Front looking for natural foods. But the animals can also be attracted to unprotected opportunistic foods, like grain, livestock feed, beehives, livestock, garbage and pet food.

Continue reading Another grizzly sighting confirmed in northern Big Belts

Given space, future looks good for grizzlies

Grizzly Bear - courtesy NPS
Grizzly Bear – courtesy NPS

Here’s a good piece by Chris Peterson of the Hungry Horse News on the progress in grizzly bear management over the last few decades . . .

While tragic, Glacier Park’s Night of the Grizzlies did much to change grizzly bear and human backcountry use. “It was a lightning rod to the core of the Park Service,” said Glacier Park biologist John Waller.

While the Wilderness Act had been passed three years before that tragic night in 1967, there was no Leave No Trace ethic — leaving or burying garbage was common in bear country. Even Roy Ducat and July Helgeson buried the remains of their sandwiches before they camped for the night, a Hungry Horse News story noted.

Philosophy toward bear management changed quickly after the incident. Grizzlies were not nearly as common in Glacier in the late 1960s as they are today. They also weren’t protected, Waller said. The Endangered Species Act was passed in 1973 and grizzlies were listed as threatened in 1975.

Read more . . .

Yellowstone grizzlies removed from threatened species list

Grizzly Bear - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service-Terry Tollefsbol, NPS
Grizzly Bear – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service-Terry Tollefsbol, NPS

Grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem were officially removed from the threatened species list on July 31. Of course, there’s the matter of dealing with a number of lawsuits . . .

For the second time in a decade, the U.S. government has removed grizzly bears in the Yellowstone region from the threatened species list.

It will be up to the courts again to decide whether they stay off the list.

The decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove federal protections from the approximately 700 bears living across 19,000 square miles in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming took effect Monday.

Read more . . .

Also read: States taking over grizzly management Monday (Bozeman Daily Chronicle)

Multiple challenges filed opposing Yellowstone grizzly delisting

Grizzly Bear - courtesy NPS
Grizzly Bear – courtesy NPS

Everyone knew this was coming . . .

At least three different legal challenges were launched Friday against the U.S. government’s decision to lift protections for grizzly bears in the Yellowstone National Park area that have been in place for more than 40 years.

The Northern Cheyenne Tribe, Center for Biological Diversity, The Humane Society, and WildEarth Guardians are among those challenging the plan to lift restrictions this summer.

Read more . . .

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service delists grizzlies in the Yellowstone ecosystem

Grizzly bear sow with three cubs - NPS photo
Grizzly bear sow with three cubs – NPS photo

Here’s the official press release from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks regarding the relisting of grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem . . .

In the final step marking a remarkable recovery effort, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Thursday that grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem will be removed from the Endangered Species List.

“The delisting demonstrates Montana’s long-standing commitment to the recovery of grizzly bears,” said Martha Williams, director of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. “FWP takes its public trust responsibility seriously and we intend to follow through in sustaining grizzly bears in Montana as well as all other species that we manage.”

Grizzly bears were put on the Endangered Species List in 1975. At that point as few as 136 bears remained in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE). Today the population is estimated at more than 700.

Management of bears in Montana’s portion of the GYE will be guided by the interagency Conservation Strategy, which will ensure a recovered grizzly bear population and that FWP and the other states continue to meet the criteria in the recovery plan. This Conservation Strategy was approved by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee in December. The strategy along with the Southwest Montana Grizzly Management Plan and a Memorandum of Agreement between Idaho, Montana and Wyoming will ensure a healthy grizzly population is maintained in the GYE.

Also, the three states have agreed to manage bears conservatively and not down to a minimum number. The goal for state management is to maintain a healthy grizzly bear population in the GYE.

“The grizzly bear population in the GYE has met all the recovery goals and the necessary safeguards are in place. This is an amazing success story,” said Ken McDonald, FWP wildlife division administrator.

FWP remains committed to continue its monitoring of females with cubs, genetic variation, bear distribution and mortalities.

In addition, FWP staff will monitor and respond to instances of human-bear interaction, livestock conflicts and provide grizzly bear outreach and education.

Thursday’s announcement only applies to the GYE. Grizzlies in the rest of Montana, including the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem, will remain on the Endangered Species List.


Also read: Lawsuits coming over plan to remove Yellowstone grizzles from endangered list (Missoulian)

Yellowstone grizzlies to be taken off Endangered Species List

Grizzly Bear - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service-Terry Tollefsbol, NPS
Grizzly Bear – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service-Terry Tollefsbol, NPS

The feds officially announced they are removing the Yellowstone ecosystem grizzlies from the Endangered Species List . . .

For the first time in more than four decades, the Yellowstone grizzly bear is set to lose its federal protections under the Endangered Species Act. Citing a rebound in the bear’s population, the U.S. Department of Interior announced its intention Thursday to end these protections and return oversight of the animal’s status to the state level.

The agency says the rule to remove the grizzly from the endangered species list will be published “in coming days” and “will take effect 30 days after publication.”

“This achievement stands as one of America’s great conservation successes; the culmination of decades of hard work and dedication on the part of the state, tribal, federal and private partners,” Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said in a statement. “As a Montanan, I’m proud of what we’ve achieved together.”

Read more . . .

Also read . . .

Feds announce Yellowstone grizzly delisting (Hungry Horse News/AP)
Yellowstone grizzly bear to lose endangered species protection (NY Times)

Grizzlies’ presence a looming issue on Rocky Mountain Front

Grizzly Bear Sow and cubs - NPS photo, Tim Rains
Grizzly Bear Sow and cubs – NPS photo, Tim Rains

Issues arise as grizzly bears spread out into their historic range in the high plains . . .

If and when they lose federal protection, grizzly bears on the Rocky Mountain Front face an uncertain future.

The questions puzzling members at the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee’s summer meeting went far beyond whether to have a hunting season. Although grizzlies in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem remain two or three years away from potential removal from Endangered Species Act oversight, residents in and around Choteau made it clear the bears’ presence was already an issue.

“We’re having more and more issues with grizzlies moving into territory they haven’t occupied for quite some time,” Valier rancher Gene Curry said during a panel discussion on future bear management. “I grew up west of Browning, and grizzly bears never entered anyone’s mind. I used to be on my hands and knees crawling through brush to get to fishing holes. Now when my grandchildren go out to catch their horses in the morning, they have to think about grizzly bears. I had five of them in the yard one morning.”

Read more . . .

Hilary Cooley is region’s new grizzly bear recovery coordinator

Dr. Hilary Cooley, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grizzly bear recovery coordinator - Jackson Hole News & Guide
Dr. Hilary Cooley, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grizzly bear recovery coordinator – Jackson Hole News & Guide

They finally brought someone in to take Chris Servheen’s old job. Dr. Hilary Cooley is the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s new grizzly bear recovery coordinator . . .

The federal official charged with leading the U.S. polar bear program has departed Alaska for Missoula, Montana, to oversee grizzly bear recovery in the Lower 48.

Hilary Cooley, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s new grizzly bear recovery coordinator, has stepped into the job vacated by 35-year veteran Chris Servheen. Cooley will have the opportunity to finish what Servheen started: seeing through the Endangered Species Act “delisting” process for Yellowstone-area grizzlies, which turns over jurisdiction from Fish and Wildlife to Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.

The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem’s grizzlies, she said, are ready to be managed by the states.

Read more . . .