Grizzly bear management strategy focus of Chico meeting - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Grizzly bear management strategy focus of Chico meeting

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The grizzly bear in the Greater Yellowstone Area was listed as an endangered species for nearly 41 years.

US Fish, Wildlife and Parks has recently found the bear’s population to be recovered and in this phase, the management of grizzly bears will go to the states of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming.

The Yellowstone Grizzly Coordinating Committee met on Thursday at Chico Hot Springs to create a strategy for grizzly bear management.

It’s all about population numbers, that’s how the Greater Yellowstone area grizzly made it to the recovery phase - and those numbers are what the Yellowstone Grizzly Coordinating Committee will be watching closely.

“Largely, it’s not going to change,” said Mike Volesky, operations manager, Montana FWP. “We have have been managing bears in a recovery mode, now that they are delisted, it’s more of a conservation mode.”

As the states take over the population management U.S. Fish Wildlife and Parks has left some oversights on bear management, like keeping the population at 500. This is the process that is used on any delisting.

“Any species we take off the Endangered Species list, we do this process,” said Hilary Cooley, Grizzly Bear Coordinator, US Fish, Wildlife and Parks. “For a period of time, the ESA says at least 5 years, we work with the agencies and the states. We’re no longer a voting member of this committee, but we’re just there to make sure things are running smoothly and the recovery is maintained.”

“It’s important for the Montana Association of Counties and Madison County to be a part of this, it affects northwestern Montana, southwest Montana, Madison County and Beaverhead County in particular because those are the most affected areas when it comes to delisting the grizzly bears,” said Hart.

Friday, the committee will focus on other areas such as habitat monitoring and food storage regulations. Their next meeting will be held in the spring

Click here to review the conservation strategy commitments online.

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