U.S. Fish and Wildlife Allocates $250,000 to Montana for Grizzly Bear Management

by Kayla Zadel

Montana livestock producers will now be able to manage grizzly bears on their land with this new decision. Just this week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) will be allocating $250,000 to help in these efforts.

The FWS is specifically earmarking the funds for the lethal and non-lethal removal of bears involved in livestock depredation. The FWS is making funds available again this year after, KPVI reports.

“The Trump Administration has prioritized implementing practices to address issues impacting private landowners and the livestock industry,” FWS Director Aurelia Skipwith tells the news station. “U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proud to work alongside the USDA to address grizzly bear livestock depredations in Montana. Partnerships like this allow us to further grizzly bear conservation.”

The grizzly bear population is now around 2,000. Ranchers that live near the Northern Continental Divide or Yellowstone National Park are seeing the increase. However, now these residents will be able to use the funds to remove the grizzlies the prove a problem. Meaning if they are attacking cattle or other livestock, these individuals can manage the problem.

Grizzly Bears Return to Rocky Mountain Front

Grizzly bears are currently on the Endangered Species List, protecting them from harm. Killing a bear of this kind is considered illegal unless it’s in self-defense. As a result, grizzly bears have returned to the Rocky Mountain Front, but are creating problems.

“The increasing population of grizzly bears along the Rocky Mountain Front is a success story in which we can all take pride, but it has come with a price to citizens of Montana along the front,” Cascade County Commissioner Joe Briggs says in a statement. “The ongoing recovery of this species brings with it a predictable increase in clashes between the bears and humans as the bears expand their territory.”

However, leaders within the livestock industry and other groups in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho are requesting that FWS continue to push for removal.

Last year, ranchers reported 148 suspected grizzly bear kills or injuries to livestock. According to KPVI, 124 were confirmed. In 2019, out of 157 reported attacks, 141 were confirmed.