KALISPELL – State wildlife officials have captured a pair of young grizzly bears near the north end of Whitefish Lake and removed the animals due to food conditioning, livestock depredation, and property damage.
The yearlings were accompanying an adult female grizzly bear that was also involved in the livestock depredations and property damage.
FWP personnel captured the yearlings June 7 and held the bears onsite in an attempt to capture the adult female, according to a news release from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks
The bears, each weighing approximately 120 pounds, were provided food and water inside the culvert traps until the decision was made to humanely kill them with a euthanasia drug at a local veterinary clinic on June 12.
FWP removed the bears in consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and in accordance with Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee guidelines. Efforts to capture the adult female near Whitefish Lake were unsuccessful.
The three grizzly bears were captured last fall near Whitefish after killing chickens and were moved to the North Fork of the Flathead River drainage.
Within a week, they returned to the valley and killed additional chickens and caused extensive property damage along Whitefish Stage Road and then Farm to Market Road.
FWP is monitoring increased grizzly and black bear activity across northwest Montana, including the Ferndale and Whitefish areas, and personnel are actively working to reduce conflicts in collaboration with landowners.
Residents are encouraged to report possible bear activity as soon as possible.
To report grizzly bear activity in the greater Flathead Valley, call (406) 250-1265. To report black bear and mountain lion activity in the greater Flathead Valley, call (406) 250-0062). To report bear activity in the Cabinet-Yaak area, call (406) 291-1320.
The Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem is home to more than 1,000 grizzly bears with FWP reporting that there have been 16 grizzly bear mortalities in the NCDE so far this year.
Residents are being asked to remove or secure food attractants such as garbage and bird feeders and bird seed.
Additionally, chickens and livestock should be properly secured with electric fencing or inside a closed shed with a door.
Recreationists are urged to “Be Bear Aware” and follow precautionary steps and tips to prevent conflicts.