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

  • CherM-del
    12/11/2017 - 07:32 a.m.

    *There was an increase of 23 bears this year.

  • jordanw-orv
    12/11/2017 - 11:55 a.m.

    When a lot of people look at these bears they say get out and run, well first of all the bears don't like you being in there turf and also you running provokes these bears. These bears are actually really calm.

  • SophiaD-del1
    12/11/2017 - 03:42 p.m.

    This article emphasizes the new numbers added to the Yellowstone grizzly bears. The state park is also saying that not hunting would not keep the bears dying from a car crash, hunter conflicts, and management removals.

  • JohnB-del1
    12/11/2017 - 04:21 p.m.

    The grizzly bear are at a steady paste almost to 718 bears The park is thinking about whether to put hunting back into business with grizzly bear. A hunting groups own opinion was permission to intervene the cases. And make sure to have a chance to him grizzlies.

  • SamanthaM-del1
    12/11/2017 - 04:54 p.m.

    Grizzly bears population has been going down. Not only because of hinting, but also because of highway accidents.

  • CadenceG-del
    12/11/2017 - 05:26 p.m.

    The grizzly bears are increasing. They could increase more if people stopped hunting them or we at least lower the rate of hunting.

  • ChloeR-del1
    12/11/2017 - 06:18 p.m.

    Challenges grizzlies face are being hunted by people. Another reason is that they are endangered. We must help find a way to avoid that.

  • SarahT-del
    12/11/2017 - 08:31 p.m.

    In Yellowstone, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, all hold a steady amount of grizzly bears. Its not a thing to be relief about; the number only went up slightly. Indian tribes are suing over this along with wildlife advocates, saying it ruin their vibes and belies or argues that bears could be close to extermination.

  • SashaK-del
    12/11/2017 - 10:56 p.m.

    the park is thinking of whether people should hunt bears. They are dying cuz of highway accidents and pollution. We need to help bears.

  • AlejandraC-del
    12/11/2017 - 11:32 p.m.

    This article was about tween grizzly bears. They are at a steady rate in population. However, even though they are in large numbers there have been many car and hunting incidents. The Greater Yellowstone Coalition are asking for more participation of the state to keep the bears more protected.

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