Officials: Yellowstone-area grizzly bear deaths up from 2019


Bozeman, Montana (AP)-- A Montana state report made public this week showed that grizzly bear deaths in parts of Yellowstone National Park increased last year and were higher than the 10-year average, wildlife officials said.

Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks bear management specialist Kevin Grey said that the data showed that there were seventeen grizzly bear deaths recorded in 2020 in Montana’s portion of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. There were ten bear deaths in 2019, the report said.

The data revealed that nine female bears, seven male bears, and one cub of an unknown sex died last year-- seven more than the ten-year average, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported Thursday.

The data was presented Wednesday during a Yellowstone Ecosystem Subcommittee meeting. The committee is made up of government agencies responsible for helping grizzly bear populations recover in Yellowstone National Park and parts of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming.

Frey said that most of the bear deaths were caused by a decline in livestock as a result of predator competition, habitat loss, and human safety concerns. He said that two bears died when they were hit by vehicles.

The report also said that so-called grizzly bear conflicts decreased last year but remained about the ten-year average. Conflicts listed in the report ranged from encounters with humans to livestock depredation.

There were 87 grizzly bear conflicts recorded in the region last year compared to 111 recorded in 2019, the report said. The ten-year average for grizzly bear conflicts is 81.

Of the 87 grizzly bear conflicts reported last year, fourteen were between bears and humans.

In response, wildlife officials are increasing efforts to reduce the encounters, including increasing food and game carcass storage, developing consistent food storage orders for hunters, and organizing more “bear-aware” education programs.

Story via AP