HELENA, Mont. - The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission is accepting public comment on proposed grizzly bear relocation sites.
Senate Bill 337, passed by the 2021 legislature, requires the Fish and Wildlife Commission to approve all sites where grizzly bears will be relocated by FWP.
The list of potential release sites includes areas in the Cabinet-Yaak, Northern Continental Divide and Greater Yellowstone ecosystems. All proposed sites are located within current grizzly bear distribution and occupied habitat and are located inside and outside of designated recovery zones.
According to the SB337, FWP will not relocate a grizzly bear that is in conflict and captured outside of a designated recovery zone, although the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or their agents may.
The Fish and Wildlife Service is not restricted from relocating a bear to any suitable release site. The proposed listed is only for FWP grizzly bear relocation efforts.
Grizzly bears may be relocated for a variety of reasons, including to avoid conflict, population augmentation, such as in the Cabinet-Yaak Recovery Zone, or for the purpose of genetic exchange.
Not all potential sites will be used, however, it is important to have alternatives as specific sites may not be available at the time a bear needs to be relocated, according to a release.
To comment and view more information, including maps of the proposed sites, visit the FWP website. Comments can also be submitted in writing to FWP Wildlife Comments, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701 and by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You have until Monday, Nov. 22, at 5 p.m. to submit a comment. Final adoption of the sites will be decided at the December 2021 commission meeting.