(photo courtesy of newswatch.nationalgeographic.com)
As part of an ongoing interagency program to monitor the population of grizzly bears in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE), Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, the US Fish & Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, and Tribal wildlife managers will once again begin seasonal scientific capture operations in parts of western Montana this month.
From April through the end of October, biologists will work in the Blackfoot Valley, along the Rocky Mountain Front, in the Swan and Clearwater River Valleys, within Glacier National Park, and in the North and Middle Forks of the Flathead River. Traps will also be set periodically on private and public lands where bear/human conflicts are occurring.
Warning signs will be posted along the major access points to the trapping site, and it is critical that all members of the public heed these signs.
Monitoring of grizzly bear distribution and population trend is vital to ongoing recovery of grizzlies in the NCDE. Potential trapping sites are baited with natural food sources and snares or culvert traps are used to capture the bears. Once captured, the bears are sedated, studied, and released in accordance with strict protocols.
For more information regarding grizzly bear trapping efforts, call FWP in Missoula at 406-542-5500 or in Kalispell at 406-752-5501. Officials in Glacier Park can be contacted at 406-888-7800, on the Blackfeet Reservation at 406-338-7207, or on the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Reservation at 406-883-2888.
(Report by Vivaca Crowser, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks – Region 2)