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FWS seeking comment on grizzly location sites

 
November 18, 2021

The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission is seeking public comment on proposed grizzly bear relocation sites. Senate Bill 337, which was passed by the 2021 legislature, requires the Fish and Wildlife Commission to approve all sites where grizzly bears will be relocated by FWP. FWP staff, working with other land management agencies, have assembled a list of potential release sites in each of the Cabinet-Yaak, Northern Continental Divide, and Greater Yellowstone ecosystems.

All proposed relocation sites are located within current grizzly bear distribution and occupied habitat and are located both inside and outside of designated recovery zones.

According to the SB337, FWP will not relocate a grizzly bear that is in conflict and captured outside of a designated recovery zone, although the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or their agents may. The new statute doesn’t preclude the Fish and Wildlife Service from relocating a bear to any suitable release site.

The list proposed by the Fish and Wildlife Commission is only for FWP grizzly bear relocation efforts.

Grizzly bears may be relocated for a variety of reasons, including to avoid conflict, population augmentation, such as in the Cabinet-Yaak Recovery Zone, or for the purpose of genetic exchange. Many more sites are proposed than will be used. However, it is important to have many alternatives as specific sites may not be available at the time a bear needs to be relocated.

The list of potential sites includes a mix of sites that have been used historically, and new sites.

For more information, including maps of the proposed sites, and to comment, click here. Comments can also be submitted in writing to FWP Wildlife Comments, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701 and by email to fwpwld@mt.gov.

Comments will be accepted until 5 p.m. Monday, November 22, with final adoption at the December 2021 commission meeting.

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