GRIZZLY BEAR RECOVERY
GOALSimply said - the GOAL of the Grizzly Bear Recovery project is the recovery of Montana's grizzly bear populations.
The Foundation’s support for the implementation of the FWP Statewide Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan focuses on the prevention and management of bear / human conflicts and on increasing the public tolerance for having grizzly bears on the landscape.
Montana is a stronghold for grizzly bears – with very healthy grizzly bear populations in the expansive back country federal land areas in the northwestern and southwestern parts of the state (the Northern Continental Divide and Greater Yellowstone Ecosystems). Using the latest grizzly bear science and management expertise, Montana’s Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department (FWP) has developed a statewide grizzly bear recovery program that identifies the need for connectivity between these two healthy populations as critical to the full recovery of the grizzly bear in Montana. Montana’s Outdoor Legacy Foundation’s Grizzly Bear Recovery Program directly supports the FWP efforts to implement this statewide plan.
Grizzly bears are naturally expanding out of the back country which is dominated by federal lands and into the working landscapes made up of a mosaic of smaller federal and state lands and large expanses of private lands where ranchers and farmers have, for generations raised their families by raising what the land provides. Around these working lands are small communities and significant transportation which connect the expanding human population. This expansion ongoing expansion of grizzly bear populations is resulting in increased potential for human / bear interactions.
As grizzly bear populations continue to grow and their occupied range expands into these working landscapes we call the front country, FWP biologists and wildlife managers are faced with the unique challenge of maintaining a healthy bear population AND providing for the safe coexistence of bears and people. To address this challenge, they have developed and are implementing an active management and outreach program that involves carefully monitoring bear movements as they venture into the front country and working directly with landowners and communities to prevent and/or manage human bear conflicts. FWP is also working with communities to increase their awareness of the challenges of living with grizzly bears and to reduce bear attractants.
Foundation funding for this project is used to provide supplies and equipment needed by FWP bear specialist and seasonal bear technicians in their efforts to work with landowners and communities to reduce bear attractants and to better educate communities on how to address expanding grizzly bear populations.
The Foundation and our partners are also working on a major capital campaign that will expand FWP’s capability to rehabilitate orphaned grizzly bear cubs that are the occasional unfortunate result of grizzly bear / human interactions.