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Grizzly bear experts from throughout western Montana will gather in Missoula on Tuesday to compare notes on their latest observations.

One highlight of the meeting at the state Fish, Wildlife and Parks Region 2 headquarters will be the travels of “Ethel,” a radio-collared female grizzly that cruised 2,800 miles over two years.

“She’s so different,” said Chris Servheen, grizzly recovery program manager for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Missoula. “We don’t know why she did what she did. It’s almost like she was looking for something she couldn’t find. She went from around the Wallace, Idaho area, past Missoula and then north up into Glacier National Park.”

The Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem extends from Glacier National Park through the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex down to Missoula and Interstate 90. An estimated 930 grizzlies call that area home. It has been Montana’s most successful grizzly recovery area.

In comparison, the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem around Yellowstone National Park has about 740 grizzly bears. The Cabinet-Yaak, Selkirks and North Cascades ecosystems farther west each have less than 50 bears.

The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee’s Northern Continental Divide Subcommittee session begins at 10 a.m. in the 3201 Spurgin Road headquarters conference room.

The agenda includes updates on how U.S. Forest Service plan amendments will connect with grizzly bear conservation strategy, new educational outreach efforts, reports from state bear managers and livestock reimbursement accounts.

It will also provide updates on grizzly mortality, captures and radio-collar projects for 2014.

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Natural Resources & Environment Reporter

Natural Resources Reporter for The Missoulian.