All told, 52 known grizzlies deaths noted in northern Montana
Monica, the iconic North Fork grizzly, and her cubs. (William K. Walker photo)
Hungry Horse News
The region saw 42 known grizzly bears deaths in the Northern Continental Divide ecosystem, with an additional 10 deaths outside of what’s known as the demographic monitoring area, Cecily Costello, research wildlife biologist with Montana, Fish Wildlife and Parks reported recently.
The numbers are preliminary and could go up.
Costello said the bear mortalities are still well below thresholds of sustainability for the demographic area.
Bears died in a multitude of ways. One bear in Glacier National Park had its den collapse on it, apparently suffocating the bruin.
Of the “independent age” bears, meaning they weren’t cubs, conflicts with livestock and motor vehicle deaths were two of the top causes of death.
The bears that killed or ate livestock were put down by bear managers.
The vehicle deaths were primarily on main highways, like Highway 93 or 200, for example, but one bear was killed up the North Fork when it ran in front of a fire truck fighting the Hay Creek Fire.
There were no train mortalities this year.
Of the deaths, perhaps the most notable locally was when a bear named Monica and her three cubs had to be put down after they became food conditioned by getting into garbage stored in a trailer up the North Fork.
At least five bears that died were considered poachings.