Grizzly bear deaths up significantly

Bozeman, MT – A significant rise in the number of grizzly bear deaths last year will be a principal topic as bear managers from around the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem gather next week in Bozeman, Montana.

The Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team reported 48 known and probable grizzly deaths, 37 of which could be attributed to human causes. Twenty of those human-caused deaths, or 54 percent, were due to hunter conflicts.

The number is up slightly from an ecosystem count last fall, when wildlife managers reported 44 deaths. The numbers exceeded both male and female mortality management limits.

If female deaths exceed the 15 percent threshold for one more year, wildlife managers could decide to return the grizzly to federal Endangered Species Act protection.

Grizzly bears in the Yellowstone ecosystem were delisted two years ago.