By Dillon Tabish, 4-12-12
||Caption: This 18-year-old female grizzly bear was captured near Elk Park Road and euthanized after repeated conflicts. The photo was taken during a previous capture several years ago. - Courtesy of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks
As a way to monitor the ongoing trend of grizzly bear recovery, wildlife biologists are about to begin capturing grizzlies in western Montana this month for an ongoing population study in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem.
Biologists will begin monitoring the distribution and population of bears in their respective jurisdictions this month. In order to attract bears, biologists utilize natural food sources such as fresh road–killed deer and elk. Potential trapping sites are baited with these natural foods and if indications are that grizzly bears are in the area, snares or culvert traps will be used to capture the bears. Once captured, the bears are sedated, studied, and released in accordance with strict protocols.
All areas where work is being conducted will have warning signs posted along the major access points to the trapping site. It is critical that all members of the public heed these signs, the FWP said in a statement.
Throughout the summer months, biologist will work in the Blackfoot Valley, along the Rocky Mountain Front, in the Swan and Clearwater River Valleys, within Glacier National Park, and in the North and Middle Forks of the Flathead River. Capturing will continue intermittently through the end of October. Traps will also be set periodically on private and public lands where bear/human conflicts are occurring.
The study is part of an interagency program between Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service and tribal wildlife managers.
For more information, call FWP in Missoula at (406) 542-5500; FWP in Kalispell at (406) 752-5501; and the FWP Bear Management Office in Choteau at (406) 466-5100. Officials in Glacier Park can be contacted at (406) 888-7800; on the Blackfeet Reservation at (406) 338-7207; or on the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Reservation at (406) 883-2888.
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