Biologists: Grizzly bears need more habitat to thrive in northern Continental Divide

2013-05-05T06:15:00Z 2014-10-03T14:29:25Z Biologists: Grizzly bears need more habitat to thrive in northern Continental DivideThe Associated Press The Associated Press
May 05, 2013 6:15 am  • 

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."

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(32) Comments

  1. MIsingleShot
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    MIsingleShot - May 12, 2013 3:35 pm
    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!
  2. MIsingleShot
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    MIsingleShot - May 12, 2013 3:14 pm
    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!
  3. richardr11
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    richardr11 - May 07, 2013 10:12 am
    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?
  4. Kokanee
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    Kokanee - May 06, 2013 9:38 pm
    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.
  5. Sukey
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    Sukey - May 06, 2013 6:41 am
    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.
  6. hellgatenights
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    hellgatenights - May 05, 2013 10:26 pm
    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.
  7. RPT
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    RPT - May 05, 2013 10:01 pm
    Never been a big fan of venison..Mostly just hunt elk and wolves now.
  8. sofaking tired of the GOP
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    sofaking tired of the GOP - May 05, 2013 8:47 pm
    Exaggerate much? FWP puts down problem bears every year.
  9. richardr11
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    richardr11 - May 05, 2013 7:33 pm
    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.
  10. RPT
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    RPT - May 05, 2013 6:51 pm
    Good.. Then your right where you belong.. Stay There!
  11. richardr11
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    richardr11 - May 05, 2013 6:36 pm
    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.
  12. Pistol
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    Pistol - May 05, 2013 6:01 pm
    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.
  13. Readneck
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    Readneck - May 05, 2013 5:49 pm
    There's plenty of deer for you to eat in the Midwest.
  14. richardr11
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    richardr11 - May 05, 2013 5:34 pm
    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.
  15. richardr11
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    richardr11 - May 05, 2013 5:23 pm
    we're gonna do everything in our power to make sure grizzlies are protected. you cAn go pound sane you anti-wildlife terrorist.
  16. richardr11
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    richardr11 - May 05, 2013 5:19 pm
    the grizzly bears are going to harvest a ton of elk calves and not a thing you can do about it. :)
  17. richardr11
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    richardr11 - May 05, 2013 5:19 pm
    we will do everything in our power to protect grizzly bears u anti-wildlife wacko!
  18. RPT
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    RPT - May 05, 2013 2:13 pm
    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.
  19. RPT
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    RPT - May 05, 2013 1:23 pm
    No one cares what she thinks or if she’s happy... She’s a waste of space.
  20. Readneck
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    Readneck - May 05, 2013 12:24 pm
    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?
  21. Roger
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    Roger - May 05, 2013 11:52 am
    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.
  22. Run - A- Mook
    Report Abuse
    Run - A- Mook - May 05, 2013 10:33 am
    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
  23. speedbow20
    Report Abuse
    speedbow20 - May 05, 2013 8:59 am
    Ah, violent AND racist!
  24. speedbow20
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    speedbow20 - May 05, 2013 8:59 am
    Would you murder someone?
  25. Pistol
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    Pistol - May 05, 2013 8:24 am
    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?
  26. Pistol
    Report Abuse
    Pistol - May 05, 2013 8:21 am
    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.
  27. Got concrete
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    Got concrete - May 05, 2013 7:17 am
    Montanans: Grizzly bears need their population reduced so we can thrive in northern Continental Divide
  28. JayJ
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    JayJ - May 05, 2013 7:04 am
    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!
  29. Pistol
    Report Abuse
    Pistol - May 04, 2013 8:37 pm
    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.
  30. Kokanee
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    Kokanee - May 04, 2013 8:12 pm
    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 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  31. warwagn
    Report Abuse
    warwagn - May 04, 2013 4:32 pm
    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.
  32. Hmm
    Report Abuse
    Hmm - May 04, 2013 2:22 pm
    Go GB!!!!!

    Love for the GB!!!!!!
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