PNS Daily Newscast - June 20, 2019 

The Trump administration finalizes a coal-friendly emissions rule for power plants. Also on today's rundown: A new development in the debate over the 2020 Census citizenship question; and why "Juneteenth" is an encore celebration in Florida and other states.

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Planning a Bright Future For Montana's Bears

A Montana bear expert will share his expertise at an international conference on bears this week in Alaska. (skeeze/pixabay)
A Montana bear expert will share his expertise at an international conference on bears this week in Alaska. (skeeze/pixabay)
June 13, 2016

MISSOULA, Mont. - Bears face serious threats worldwide and most of them are caused by humans. This week hundreds of experts on bears from more than a dozen countries will swap ideas at a conference of the International Association for Bear Research and Management in Anchorage, Alaska.

Russ Talmo, field technician and bear expert from Defenders of Wildlife Montana, will speak at the event. He runs a program in Missoula to help property owners with the money and expertise to put up electric fences to keep bears away from gardens, fruit trees and chicken coops, things that attract them to people's backyards.

"We know that our fences reduce conflicts," says Talmo. "We know conflicts are the cause of bear mortality. So of the 210 participants, 98 percent of people who have installed an electric fence have not had a bear conflict at their site."

The four-day workshop will also look at the way climate change has affected bears and brought them into additional conflict with humans.

Karla Dutton, program director for Defenders of Wildlife in Alaska, says as the sea ice melts the polar bears spend more time on land, sometimes near remote towns. So she's working to give homeowners large metal bear-proof coolers to store their extra food over the winter and discourage raids from our furry friends.

"As polar bears pass through the town, they can't get at the food, which means they spend less time in the community," she says. "And as a result fewer bears are removed from the population for getting into trouble and people are safer."

The conference takes place every other year, with the last one held in Spain. The venue for the next one will be announced this week and is expected to be in Central or South America.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - MT