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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Monday, January 7, 2013

Grizzly Bear deaths have ranged between 14 and 26 for the past dozen years in the Northern Continental Divide, with 18 recorded in 2012..............While Grizzly mortality has been lower on public lands due to road closures and strict camper food security, the loss of Grizzlies on private lands has increased from 18 to 26% since 2000............With more people building homes and ranchettes on the land, conflicts with humans are on the increase.............Bear management specialists have been spending more time coaching landowners about electric fencing and other measures to reduce conflicts............... Jamie Jonkel, the specialist who covers the southern end of the Northern Continental recovery area, refers to chickens as “the new garbage” for causing conflicts...............Is this one of the reasons that Chris Servheen, Grizzly Bear Coordinator for the USFW is pushing so hard for federal delisting of the Bruins?............Is the pressure mounting to institute a hunt on the Griz to reduce their #'s due the sloppy habits of the human being?.

Grizzly deaths remain at steady level
18 mortalities reported during 2012

With improved habitat security on federal lands and continued public education, the number of grizzly bear mortalities in the Northern Rockies was relatively low at 18 in 2012.With the exceptions of 30 grizzly deaths in 2011 and 34 in 2004, the number of human-caused bear deaths in and around the Northern Continental Divide recovery area has hovered between 14 and 26 for most of the last 12 years. The low was 11 in 2008.

“Our mortalities are remaining pretty steady,” said Chris Servheen, grizzly bear recovery coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “I think it’s the ongoing efforts of the bear managers, both the tribal and state guys, dealing with a lot of conflicts and working with a lot of new land owners.”

The work of state bear management specialists such as Tim Manley, who covers the Flathead area, has been significant because of the encroachment of homes into bear habitat and a growing bear population that continues to use those areas.

“We are seeing increasing numbers of bears, but our mortalities are remaining steady,” Servheen said.
Seven of the 2012 mortalities occurred in the Flathead Valley area. The highest cause of deaths for the year was illegal kills, which accounted for seven bears.

Over the last 12 years, however, management control has been the main cause of death, accounting for 32 percent of the 262 bear deaths, followed by illegal kills at 18 percent, automobile collisions at 11 percent and train collisions at 9 percent.

Servheen noted that no bears were killed by trains this year.“Trains and vehicles are kind of a constant source, so it’s nice to see we didn’t have any train collisions this year, but that doesn’t mean we won’t see some in the future,” he said.Servheen pointed out another significant trend — a decline in bear deaths on lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service.

From 1974 to 1999, 58 percent of bear deaths were on Forest Service lands that account for 61 percent of the recovery area. But since the year 2000, only 39 percent of mortalities have occurred on Forest Service lands.Servheen attributes that to improved habitat security related to forest road closures as well as food storage rules in Forest Service camping areas.

But an increase in the percentage of bear deaths on private lands also comes into play. Since 1970, 18 percent of grizzly deaths occurred on private lands. But since 2000, 26 percent have been on private land.
“We have more bears on private land now and we have more private landowners in bear habitat with more people settling in Western Montana,” Servheen said, noting how it is obvious there are homes in rural Flathead areas where there weren’t any 10 to 20 years ago. “Often people move in with habits that are not compatible in bear habitat,” he said. “Hobby farmers with chickens in bear habitat — that’s the stuff that causes problems.”

Bear management specialists have been spending more time coaching landowners about electric fencing and other measures to reduce conflicts. Jamie Jonkel, the specialist who covers the southern end of the recovery area, refers to chickens as “the new garbage” for causing conflicts. With the overall improvement in the Northern Rockies bear population, state, federal and tribal agencies continue to work toward removing grizzly bears from endangered species listing.

Servheen said a draft conservation strategy — a plan for managing bears after delisting — will be released for public review and comment in the next few months.“Before we propose delisting, we have to have this,” Servheen said. “It institutionalizes most of the protections that are currently in place.” “Delisting doesn’t mean going back to the way it used to be,” he said. “It doesn’t mean go back and build all the roads you want and there are no limits on mortalities.”

But delisting could clear the way for limited grizzly bear hunting. “There might be a hunt,” Servheen said. “Hunting will never threaten the grizzly bear population. It will always be done under a very conservative approach with very sustainable limits.”

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