Grizzly Bear and Cubs Roaming Near Shelby


The following article is from the Associated Press:

GREAT FALLS, Mont. — A radio-collared grizzly bear with two cubs roaming southwest of Shelby in a plains area of north-central Montana is significant because it’s the first time bear managers have documented a female grizzly so far east of the Rocky Mountain Front, authorities say.

Bear management specialist Mike Madel with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks said having a female grizzly in the area could indicate the grizzly population in the region is expanding east faster than expected. Other grizzlies in recent years have been spotted in prairie country but those were young males that tend to travel long distances attempting to establish home ranges.

“The fact we have an adult female, who’s also of reproductive age, is pretty significant,” Madel said.

The Great Falls Tribune reports ( ) in a story published Saturday that the bears are around the Marias River State Park and Wildlife Management Area. Experts say the bears are moving in river bottoms, feeding on thorny buffalo berry and not causing any trouble.

“Very few people know she’s out there,” Madel said.

The estimated population of the grizzlies in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem is about 900 bears. But Madel said there have been no documented adult females as far east as the female and her two cubs, which he said tend to be more secretive.

Dan Carney, a wildlife biologist with the Blackfeet Tribe, said the adult bear was captured last year on the reservation on Badger Creek when wildlife officials were attempting to capture a different grizzly bear that was breaking into a shed.

She was fitted with a radio collar and transported back to the mountains. Officials said she came out of a mountain den in the spring and headed east again, remaining elusive despite the radio collar.

“Finally, we found her way out on the Marias,” Carney said. “She’s been out there for a month or so now.”

Carney said it’s possible other grizzlies may be out on the prairie.

“It seems like they’re moving farther out all the time,” Carney said. “We don’t look for them out there, so I don’t know how many bears are out that way.”


Source:  Associated Press

Posted by Haylie Shipp


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