Wildlife / Lands
Grizzly Bear, Mountain Lion and Wolf Management
The State of Montana is a stronghold for species like grizzly bears, wolves and mountain lions and their presence here is not accidental. Strong recovery programs, active education, proactive management and a tolerant public ensure that Montana’s population for these species is not only strong but growing.
Despite their healthy populations, the success of grizzly bears, wolves and mountain lions in Montana is not without challenges, particularly to human residents. Growth in the wildlife population alongside Montana’s growing human population and dramatic increases in outdoor tourism, illustrated by more than a doubling of visitors in Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks in recent years, present biologist and wildlife managers with major challenges for maintaining healthy and safe co-existence of these species and people. Active education and management programs have been identified as the keys to success. This year we have two key priorities:
- Management and outreach — bears are moving out to places that have not experienced bears for decades. We need to help wildlife managers and residents with efforts to successfully co-exist. Seasonal technicians to work with residents and additional equipment is critical in areas like the Gallatin Valley and Rocky Mountain Front.
- Bear Cub Pen: — Montana WILD has a rehabilitation center for orphaned wildlife but is not set up for the size of grizzly cubs. We need to expand that facility and have a goal of $150,000 to raise by April of 2018. Last year we had four orphaned cubs and this year we have three. Bear Cub Pen Summary here!
Video from the summer season
Tim Manley’s Annual Report:
Annual Report Manley
The southernmost reaches for wolverine populations in North America occurs in small, semi-isolated subpopulations in the Rocky Mountains of Montana, Idaho and northwest Wyoming, the north Cascade Range of Washington and the Wallowa Mountains of Oregon. Maintaining wolverine distribution in suitable habitat and connectivity in their range, and at a multi-state scale is critical for ensuring wolverine survival over the long term.
State and federal agencies in this region, as well as tribal and NGO partners, are collaborating to advance wolverine conservation across their range. This project includes maintaining landscape connectivity among occupied wolverine habitats, assessing the feasibility of expansion of their range, and a comprehensive monitoring plan. The project engages key partners at multiple levels to prioritize habitat conservation, population connectivity and management activities.
Not unlike Montana’s famed trout, one of Montana’s most unique waterfowl species, the harlequin duck, requires clear, fast-moving mountain streams for its breeding season and forage.
Only about 200 pairs nest in Montana, many of which can be found in or near Glacier National Park. Harlequin ducks are considered a Species of Concern in Montana because of this very limited habitat and potentially declining population numbers which make them vulnerable.
Your help is needed to provide critical research on this unique waterfowl species to track harlequins to better understand what stage of their life cycle may be most vulnerable and causing a perceived decline in numbers.
Aquatic Invasive Species (Mussels) program
Mussels have reached Montana and simply need to be stopped! Monitoring stations, research and education are critical components to keep mussels from spreading across Montana. We stand ready to receive contributions in support of the efforts of Senator Daines, Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Flathead Lake Biological Station and other government agencies to stop invasive mussels.
Other Research Projects
Research is needed to identify Golden eagle populations and nesting sites throughout the state. There are range-wide questions for this species, particularly in the face of increased wind energy development.
Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks is undertaking a new bat research project to answer important questions about bats and their use of beetle kill timber and logged timber stands. This study will potentially shed light on the habitats bats prefer in Western Montana and support conservation of bat populations which contribute billions of dollars of ecosystem services each year such as insect control, pollination and other important benefits.
High Elevation Species
For these critical species, monitoring is key. Little is known about Montana’s high elevation species including rosy finches, ptarmigan, and pika. The more we know about this group of species the better poised we are to enact conservation measures in the face of climate change.