HELENA — Government biologists say current habitat won't be enough for grizzly bears to thrive along Montana's Northern Continental Divide after the animals are eventually delisted from federal protections.

People are going to have to accept the big predators as a cohabitant on a limited landscape, the biologists said in a draft conservation plan released this week by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The plan has been hailed as a major step toward ensuring that the iconic species thrives in a roughly 110,000-square-mile area that includes Glacier National Park.

Fish and Wildlife is taking comment now on the plan now at http://tinyurl.com/chs4l76 .

"We developed this strategy because maintenance of a healthy, recovered grizzly population depends on the effective continuation of many partnerships to manage and conserve the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem grizzly bear population and its habitat," said Noreen Walsh, Fish and Wildlife's Mountain-Prairie regional director.

It's expected to be 2014 before about 600 bears around Yellowstone National Park, to the south of the bears targeted by this plan, lose their federal protections.

However, it could take longer for about 1,000 grizzlies in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem covered by this conservation plan, a sprawling area north and east of Missoula and Bozeman that spans the northern border with Canada, have been listed as a threatened species since 1975.

Since then, they've bounced back significantly — thanks to efforts by the state and federal governments as well as Montana Indian tribes that together have helped spearhead recovery, coordinate research efforts, and improve habitat management.

This draft plan — once it's adopted following public scrutiny and possibly changes — wouldn't lift Endangered Species Act protections, but rather provide a framework for managing bears, once protections have been relaxed.

In addition to outlining strategies for coexistence between bears and people including residents of ranching communities whose livelihoods sometimes conflict with predators, the plan's other elements include making sure that, in particular, male grizzlies can move between the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem and adjacent ecosystems.

The key to public support and successful management of grizzly bears is to balance multiple land uses, public safety, and careful consideration of grizzly bear needs," according to the draft plan. "Human-caused mortality is the limiting factor for nearly all grizzly bear populations in the world and this Conservation Strategy aims to manage mortality at sustainable levels."

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(32) comments

MIsingleShot
MIsingleShot

Quit spending all our endangered species dollar on animals like the grizzly and wolf...... they are obviously recovered to the habitat the suits them. The law suits by groups that pimp the wolf and grizzly in order to get their "donate now" button pressed need to be held accountable for the habitat dollars they waste!

Kokanee
Kokanee

Maybe they have not taken into account that we will be KILLING FAR MORE WOLVES THIS FALL!!!(woohoo) That will leave more prey for the bears they can go around eating all the wolf carcasses, right leopard.

richardr11
richardr11

haha not likely given that there are over 1000 wolves in montana and they are harvesting elk, deer, and moose all year round. You lost. the wolves will begin harvesting a ton of elk calves real soon. You mad?

hellgatenights
hellgatenights

There simply is no more suitable habitat for bears, as like the buffalo, they go where they want and you can't stop them. Eco-terrorist try hard to limit our access to public wild lands, they use the usual tools, lawsuits, half true field reports and phony economic theories. In just about any other country there would be nothing to discuss.....there would be no grizz, no buffalo, no wolf and no debate. They have removed the animals long ago. we should be grateful for the heritage we have, and the fact that all the species are doing about as well as they can.

MIsingleShot
MIsingleShot

hellgatenights, Your hitting the nail on the head.....There is only limited habitat for these animals. The groups that pimp them in order to get the "donate now" button & waste environmental dollars on environmental lawyer need to be held accountable!

Comment deleted.
richardr11
richardr11

and the grizzly bears harvesting a ton of elk calves should make you very angry. whine all you want while the grizzlies get to harvest a ton of elk calves.

Comment deleted.
richardr11
richardr11

it makes you furious that wolves and grizzlies will get to harvest a ton of elk calves and there isn't a thing you can do about it. Must really suck to be you miss rpt.

Readneck
Readneck

If you don't like wildlife, why do you live in Montana? There are plenty of states with no grizzly bears, wolves, lions, bison, etc.
Why force your self-center point of view on the last place left with a few spots of wild land?

RPT
RPT

We love our wildlife here. ALL OF IT !!..That’s why were fighting so hard to prevent these anti-hunting extremist groups from destroying it and turning Montana into another predator pit the way they did at Yellowstone.

Readneck
Readneck

There's plenty of deer for you to eat in the Midwest.

RPT
RPT

Good.. Then your right where you belong.. Stay There!

RPT
RPT

Never been a big fan of venison..Mostly just hunt elk and wolves now.

Got concrete
Got concrete

Montanans: Grizzly bears need their population reduced so we can thrive in northern Continental Divide

JayJ
JayJ

I still think that the east coast needs to "reintroduce" grizzly bear.....start them in Central Park and they can fan out from there. Maybe even a pack of wolves, then we could have a rich and diverse species that can spead naturally , and one day merge with their western cousins. ;) LOL!

Pistol
Pistol

Correct! States should have the ultimate right to determine policy on issues like Grizzly Bears and Wolves.Why doesn't PETA stand up and push for the placement of bears that get into trouble, and excess wolves moved to other areas of the country instead of being hunted?

Comment deleted.
Pistol
Pistol

First to compare a human being to a wolf, is very sad. Second that is what areas with "excess humans" end up doing. People move from the urban areas to less populated areas. Big difference then loading up wolves in Canada, and hauling them to the U.S. Wolves were already in Montana, and eventually they would have repopulated what existed of there natural range. Article states millions of acres. The point is a lot of Montanans are tired of out of state groups determining what is best for us.

Sukey
Sukey

Its too dangerous there, on the East Coast, for grizzlies because of all the Arab terrorists. Until grizzlies and wolves can carry assault weapons to shoot back at suicide bombers and all the immigrants on welfare intent on destroying this great country, its better they stay here, safe, in Montana.

Pistol
Pistol

Make hunting by permit only, and only on private land. That would mean harvesting basically bears that are living to close to people. 110,000 acres plus Yellowstone National Park should be enough room. Don't kill a bear that attacts people hiking or camping miles from the nearest highway or residence.

Pistol
Pistol

Placed misinformation in my comment. The bears have 110000 square miles of ground in the Northern Continental Divide part of there range not 110000 acres. The acreage is 70,400,000.

Kokanee
Kokanee

Just another nail in the coffin for people that WORK in the woods,ranch,etc,etc. They will use this to shut the rest of the west down for any development. I can here the comments now Well you moved here you knew the bears were here first yeah we are really sorry the bear broke into your house and ate your kids but hey at least the grizz was not harmed.

What a crock of !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Comment deleted.
speedbow20
speedbow20

Would you murder someone?

Comment deleted.
speedbow20
speedbow20

Ah, violent AND racist!

Run - A- Mook
Run - A- Mook

the Missoulian let's you get
away with comments like
richardr11

Note the missoulian would not let
me use Richard nick name.
Who's mind is in the out house

Comment deleted.
Roger
Roger

Being someplace first is meaningless in nature, racist Richie. What is needed is a grizzly hunting season - and soon. That should make you happy, since it will give you more to whine about.

RPT
RPT

No one cares what she thinks or if she’s happy... She’s a waste of space.

richardr11
richardr11

we will do everything in our power to protect grizzly bears u anti-wildlife wacko!

richardr11
richardr11

the grizzly bears are going to harvest a ton of elk calves and not a thing you can do about it. :)

richardr11
richardr11

we're gonna do everything in our power to make sure grizzlies are protected. you cAn go pound sane you anti-wildlife terrorist.

richardr11
richardr11

and the grizzly bears harvesting a ton of elk calves should make you very angry. whine all you want while the grizzlies get to harvest a ton of elk calves.

sofaking tired of the GOP
sofaking tired of the GOP

Exaggerate much? FWP puts down problem bears every year.

warwagn
warwagn

The Mt FWP and the studies that have been put out in the past, DNA and such, already show more than 1000 grizzlies are in nw Montana. Not counting the rest of the state and Yellowstone Park. Then add the rest of the states in, the populations in the lower 48 are doing just fine. This is just more ways to keep the animal rights groups happy and spend more money on the bears. I would rather see the money go to the schools here than to the wolves, bears and some stupid little mouse that we don't even have in Montana.

Hmm
Hmm

Go GB!!!!!

Love for the GB!!!!!!

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