Northwest Montana grizzly deaths spur pushback


MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — The mortality rate of grizzly bears in northwestern Montana has prompted a group of bear researchers to challenge whether the grizzly should be removed from federal protection.

This month a grizzly bear was shot by a hunter east of Eureka and state wildlife managers killed another bear near Libby after it broke into a garage to eat a harvested elk.

The Missoulian reports the number of known grizzly deaths in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem recovery zone this year has reached 48.

Five non-governmental grizzly bear researchers will challenge assertions that the ecosystem’s population can be delisted during a presentation Friday at the University of Montana.

Last month, a state biologist said it was too early to say whether the recovery zone grizzly deaths were alarming or even a trend.