Grizzly numbers hold steady around Yellowstone
Grizzly numbers hold steady around Yellowstone In this Sept. 25, 2013 file photo, a grizzly bear cub forages for food a few miles from the north entrance to Yellowstone National Park in Gardiner, Mont. (Alan Rogers /The Casper Star-Tribune via AP, File/NPS/Diane Renkin)
Grizzly numbers hold steady around Yellowstone
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Grizzly bear numbers in and around Yellowstone National Park are holding relatively steady. That's according to figures released Thursday. State wildlife officials have begun discussions on whether to hold the first public hunts for the animals in decades.

There are an estimated 718 bears in the Yellowstone region. That includes parts of Wyoming. It also includes parts of Montana and Idaho. That's according to the leader of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team.

That's up slightly from last year's tally of 695 bruins. But it is not considered a huge increase. This is because there are uncertainties around the estimates. That's according to Frank van Manen. His is the study team leader. He is with the U.S. Geological Survey.

"The population has been at a pretty stable level since the early 2000s," van Manen said. "If that number had been lower by 15 or 20 bears, I would have said the same thing."

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in July removed protections for Yellowstone grizzlies. The protections  had been in place since 1975. They turned over management of the animals to the three states.

Hunting is part of the states' grizzly management strategy. But details have yet to be worked out. State officials have consistently said any hunts would be limited to a small number of bears. This was to avoid endangering the overall population.

"None of the states at this point in time are actively planning for hunts. But they are beginning dialogues with various members of the public about what that would look like." That's according to Gregg Losinksi. He is with Idaho Fish and Game.

Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks spokesman Greg Lemon said Montana officials are focused on building public trust on grizzly management. There are no active discussions about future hunts in the state, Lemon said.

Even without hunts bears have been dying at a steady rate. More than 50 were killed in each of the past three years due to conflicts with hunters. It was also due to highway accidents and management removals of bears that preyed on livestock.

"More than 150 bears dying in the last three years because of run-ins with hunters and cars and cows is just too many," said Beth Kampschror. She is with the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, a conservation group. "We're asking the states and agencies to do more to keep people safe and bears alive."

Other wildlife advocates and American Indian tribes have sued to restore federal protections.

The tribes say killing grizzlies violates the spiritual beliefs of their members. Wildlife advocates argue that hunting could reverse the species' hard-fought recovery from near extermination in the last century.

The National Rifle Association and Safari Club International, a hunting group, have asked the judge overseeing most of the lawsuits for permission to intervene in the cases. They want to make sure their members have a chance to hunt grizzlies.

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What challenges do the grizzlies face?
Write your answers in the comments section below

  • 24wgierke
    12/12/2017 - 09:37 a.m.

    Grizzlies face lots of dangers main one is human. Humans can hunt and lower the population. In other cases a human can have self defense if a bear attacks a person, but there can be many reasons for that. Also some bears can get ran over by cars.

  • 24evitito
    12/12/2017 - 09:37 a.m.

    Grizzlies might face extinction because there may be not much to eat or people are killing them. Also, they might be being killed by other bears or their predators.

  • 24kgibbs
    12/12/2017 - 09:37 a.m.

    Grizzles face a lot of challenges through there life. One challenge is Hunters are killing them. Another challenger that they face are cars and people.

  • 24dbrunette
    12/12/2017 - 09:37 a.m.

    I thought that the bears in the national park could not be shot because it is in a national park.

  • 24kzorza -sjo
    12/12/2017 - 09:38 a.m.

    The grizzlies face a few challenges. One is encounters with hunters. Another challenge they face is cars, numbers of cars are increasing and bears who don't look both ways before they cross get hit. The last thing the bars face is when they prey on cattle, farmers kill them to protect their livestock. Over the lat 3 years, around 150 bears were killed by these occurrences in Yellowstone Park.

  • 24wwurz -sjo
    12/12/2017 - 09:40 a.m.

    The challenges grizzlies face is hunters,cows?,and cars. I don't understand why they would take the protection law off, it just causes more problems.The last thing they face is that yes, they have national parks and laws, but we ruin their habitat with buildings and factories.

  • 24kkarppinen
    12/12/2017 - 09:40 a.m.

    They're dying because of hunters , cars and cows its very bed how many have died

  • 24gsoderman
    12/12/2017 - 09:40 a.m.

    I think we the people shod be abil to hunt.I think their is to meany bear.To meany are not dead.

  • 24mmattson
    12/12/2017 - 09:41 a.m.

    Getting food, saving there families and others.

  • 24lculbertson
    12/12/2017 - 09:41 a.m.

    The grizzlies face many challenges. A couple of those are getting enough food for when they go into hibernation. Another one is the Tribes killing them.

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