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Governor's Grizzly Bear Advisory Council Makes Recommendations

Grizzly bears were first protected by the Endangered Species Act in 1975. (Wikimedia Commons)
Grizzly bears were first protected by the Endangered Species Act in 1975. (Wikimedia Commons)
September 11, 2020

HELENA, Mont. -- The Montana Governor's Grizzly Bear Advisory Council has released its recommendations to manage and protect the species, which the report notes has long ties to the state, both ecologically and spiritually.

Grizzlies still are listed under the Endangered Species Act, meaning they can't be killed for any reason other than self-defense. Populations have increased in Montana in the last decade, and the state wants to reduce conflicts between bears and people.

Bonnie Rice, senior campaign representative for the Sierra Club Greater Yellowstone-Northern Rockies chapter, applauded the recommendations to increase resources to foster coexistence between people, livestock and grizzlies.

"Especially in places where grizzly bears are expanding their range," she said, "to really get ahead of that in terms of outreach and education, conflict prevention, with people living in those communities, I think that's really important."

Rice said learning coexistence measures is the best way to keep people safe and help grizzly bears thrive. The Sierra Club would have liked to see a specific recommendation against a trophy hunt, if and when grizzly bears are taken off the endangered species list, she said. The Council acknowledged the importance of connecting grizzly recovery areas for the species' long-term viability, but Rice was disappointed the recommendations weren't more specific "in order to actually achieve that connectivity between recovery areas and ensure that Montana's grizzly bear populations don't remain isolated from each other, like they are now."

The Council's report said the increased presence of grizzly bears in Montana is a testament to the hard work of tribes, government agencies and conservation groups. Rice agreed, and said there's more to do to ensure the long-term presence of Montana's official state animal.

The Sierra Club news release is online at

Disclosure: Sierra Club, Montana contributes to our fund for reporting. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Lily Bohlke, Public News Service - MT