Two recent grizzly bear deaths in northwestern Montana, coupled with the high mortality rate there for the past two years, is prompting a group of researchers to publicly challenge the official narrative that the population is healthy and can be removed from federal protection.
The Nov. 7 shooting of a female grizzly bear by a hunter east of Eureka pushed the number of known “mortalities” to 48 in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem. That’s close to the record number of 53 mortalities last year in the NCDE, which includes about 25,000 acres in Glacier National Park, the Bob Marshall Wilderness complex and surrounding areas. It’s home to an estimated 1,000 grizzlies.
Mortalities include the actual known dead bears, as well as those that are relocated or leave the NCDE on their own volition.
A second grizzly bear was killed by FWP officials on Sunday about 3.5 miles south of Libby, after it broke into a garage to feed on a harvested elk. This bear was in the Cabinet-Yaak Ecosystem, which is west of the NCDE along the Montana/Idaho border and is home to about 50 to 60 grizzly bears.