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, 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 portions of Wyoming, 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 significant increase because there are uncertainties around the estimates. That's according to the U.S. Geological Survey’s Frank van Manen. He is the study team leader.

"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."

In July, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed protections for Yellowstone grizzlies that 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 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" said Gregg Losinksi 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, 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 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

  • PoojaT-del
    12/10/2017 - 12:47 p.m.

    This article is about Grizzly bear numbers in and around Yellowstone National Park are holding relatively steady, according to figures released Thursday. It shows how the population of grizzly bears increased. It was a very interesting article to read.

  • WilliamF-del
    12/10/2017 - 05:17 p.m.

    Grizzle bears were once an endangered species. Now that there are more bears the hunting can happen. I personally think it's a bad idea because the chances are high that someone will break the rules and cause endangerment again.

  • KyleP-del1
    12/10/2017 - 06:06 p.m.

    This article is about how grizzly bears keep dying and being hunted. At yellow stone national park the grizzle bears are increasing which is a good thing because we don’t want them to go extinct.

  • ZofiaT-del
    12/10/2017 - 06:24 p.m.

    This article is about how bear numbers have been increasing in Yellow Stone Park. Their numbers are steady and do not need that much protection anymore. But because of human interaction, a few bears each year die from hunting or a car crash.

  • JaredI-del
    12/10/2017 - 06:26 p.m.

    Grizzlies face the challenges of being hunted

  • NatalieH-del
    12/10/2017 - 07:03 p.m.

    The article above is about the amount of Grizzly bears currently living near the Yellowstone National Park. Their population has increased. At first, they had 695 bears, then got to 718 bears. The bears also have struggles. They have to avoid getting hit and killed by cars, and being hunted.

  • EmilyN-del1
    12/10/2017 - 07:14 p.m.

    This article is about the large population of Grizzly bears in and around Yellow National Park. The number has changed from 695 to 718 bears. The bear population is dying out and we need to save them.

  • ElvinaI-del
    12/10/2017 - 10:22 p.m.

    The population of grizzly bears have increased. The population of grizzly bears is steady but in order to keep it steady, people have to stop hunting bears.

  • AnthonyG-del1
    12/10/2017 - 11:20 p.m.

    The article is about how the population of grizzly bears increased. The amount of them are steady but people need to stop hunting them

  • CherM-del
    12/11/2017 - 07:29 a.m.

    The population of grizzly bears are increasing to almost 700 and now parks such as Yellowstone are considering to hunt them again. However I believe to keep the population at this rate and at a safe number we must not hunt them. In a year the population increased by just 23 bears, if we start hunting them no that number will surely decrease tremendously.

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