Biologist Says Grizzly Bear Population Growing 3 Percent Annually

By Beacon Staff

A state research biologist estimates the grizzly bear population in the northern Rockies is growing by an average rate of 3 percent per year.

Rick Mace, a biologist for Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, says he has been studying grizzly populations in the region since 2004. He and his team tracked female grizzlies with GPS collars over 8 million acres.

Mace says the 3 percent average growth rate is a very good rate for grizzly bears.

He attributes the growth to the bears’ listing as a threatened species and bear management practices that have reduced conflicts with humans.

But Mace says more vigilance is needed before the grizzly can be considered not threatened.

He presented the findings Wednesday in Kalispell.

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