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FWP prepares for possible delisting of NCDE grizzly bears - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

FWP prepares for possible delisting of NCDE grizzly bears

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KALISPELL - Grizzly bear populations have been rebounding in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem which includes Glacier National Park, the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area and much of the Rocky Mountain Front.

But the road to recovery has been long and what the future holds is yet to be told for the management of grizzlies. A few decades ago grizzly bears were on the brink of extinction.

"We almost lost one of our iconic species," said Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesman Dillon Tabish. But today Grizzly bears are not only back, but their on the landscape in places they haven't seen them in for generations.

"We have the largest population of grizzly bears in the lower 48 states here in northwest Montana," Tabish told MTN News.

He says the protection of the animal under the Endangered Species Act helped the population rebound today to around 1,000 But at one point Tabish estimates there were just 100 grizzly bears left.

Tabish added that the recovery is one of the most amazing conservation success stories ever.

"Through the hard work of biologists, wildlife managers and residents who changed their habits -- whether it was bear-proofing their food when they're out camping or storing garbage in secure locations or using bear spray," Tabish said.

" All of these efforts and these passionate people who are devoted to saving grizzlies came together to create what we're in now, which is a recovered population," Tabish added.

Grizzlies remain a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, except in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem where they were recently delisted due to recovery.

Tabish says that state, federal and tribal agencies are currently putting together a conservation strategy for the possibility of the federal government delisting them in the region.

"This would be the game plan for ensuring that population remains stable. We're going to continue to put together that conservation strategy if and when the federal government decides to delist our NCDE grizzlies," Tabish said.

Tabish also told us that they are continuing to work on putting together a conservation strategy.

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