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Grizzly Bear Death in Park

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Date: May 23, 2014
Contact: Denise Germann, 406 888 5838

A dead grizzly bear was discovered along the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park on Thursday morning. At approximately 10 a.m. on May 22, a member of the park road crew was traveling down the Going-to-the-Sun Road when he came upon a dead grizzly bear located on the road about one mile above The Loop.

An initial investigation by the National Park Service indicated that the bear probably fell onto the road from a steep snowbank between approximately 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. on May 22. Park snow plow crew members had traveled up the Going-to-the-Sun Road at approximately 9 a.m. Thursday and saw no bear.

Park officials notified the US Fish and Wildlife Service as required since the grizzly bear is listed as an endangered species, and informed Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks of the incident. Park law enforcement rangers conducted an investigation and wildlife biologists conducted a necropsy of the bear.

The bear was a 190-pound male, believed to be approximately five years old. The bear had no markings to signify any prior capture. The necropsy indicated death was the result of a fall and considered a natural death. The bear had head injuries, broken ribs and other internal injuries consistent with a fall. There was no evidence of any struggle or fight prior to the fall, or any indication of a vehicle collision. The terrain above the location where the bear was found includes a steep snowbank, some steep cliffs and a drop of approximately 12 feet.

There is an estimated grizzly bear population of 300 in Glacier National Park. Numerous state and federal agencies have worked together to manage and recover the grizzly bear population in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE), including Glacier National Park.

The Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE) encompasses about 9,600 square miles of northwestern Montana, and includes Glacier National Park, parts of the Flathead and Blackfeet Indian Reservations, parts of five national forests (Flathead, Helena, Kootenai, Lewis and Clark and Lolo), Bureau of Land Management lands, and a significant amount of state and private lands.

Under the Endangered Species Act, grizzly bears were listed as a threatened species in 1975 in the lower 48 States.

 

Did You Know?

Trees and mountains

In 1974, 93% of Glacier National Park was recommended as Wilderness. To this day, over 93% of Glacier’s backcountry is managed as Wilderness.