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Feeding bears likely cause of relocations

News from CSKT Natural Resources

ST. IGNATIUS – Tribal Wildlife Bear Biologists and Tribal Conservation Officers responded to a call last week involving a yearling grizzly bear along Mission Creek near Tribal Health and Human Services in St Ignatius. The female yearling was trapped and relocated in the Jocko area approximately nine miles from where she was captured, reported Stacy Courville, Tribal Bear Biologist.

Courville reports that the encounter is concerning because young grizzly bears stay with their mothers until they are two years old.

“In the last five years, seven yearling or grizzly bear cubs have been captured and handled. Six of those grizzly bears have been removed from the Reservation population between Post Creek and St. Ignatius. Six of the seven bears removed are females. This is not sustainable,” said Tom McDonald, Manager of the Division of Fish, Wildlife, Recreation and Conservation.

“Hopefully, this handling experience discourages the yearling from coming near people again,” Courville said.

“It appears that these bears are becoming habituated to humans and it is likely that someone is feeding bears between St. Ignatius and Post Creek,” he added.

People are reminded that it is illegal to feed wildlife. If anybody observes or has information about someone feeding bears on the Reservation, contact Tribal Conservation Officers at 406-675-4700 as soon as possible.

Grizzly bear sightings may be reported to Tribal Wildlife Management Program at 406-675-2700 ext. 1299.

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