Wednesday, June 07, 2023

Two Yaak grizzlies dead

| October 28, 2005 12:00 AM

State and federal law enforcement officers are investigating the deaths of two grizzly bears in the Yaak.

The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks reported the deaths in a brief press release Wednesday. Officials were alerted to the first bear through a biologist's report and the second bear was reported by a landowner, according to John Fraley of FWP.

No other details were released, although a Libby bear biologist said the deaths were human-caused.

Remains of a third dead grizzly near Noxon also was reported Wednesday. Bruce Sterling, area biologist in Thompson Falls, found the female bear's remains Oct. 10 after it was hit by a train.

Wayne Kasworm of Libby, who heads grizzly bear recovery efforts for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said the Noxon bear had not been captured and collared. There was no indication of a dead animal in the area that might have lured the bear, Kasworm said.

In news involving another grizzly bear, he said a 7-year-old female captured along the North Fork of the Flathead River and released near Spar Lake was located Monday during a late afternoon flight. The collared bear was detected near Keeler Creek about five miles north of where it was released.

It bolsters hopes that the bear will not try to return to its previous home territory.

"That's a reasonable radius of the release site," Kasworm said, adding that the location is good bear habitat.

Meanwhile, he also located a sub-adult grizzly that had been relocated to the Northwest Peak Scenic Area in early October. The bear was transported because it had been visiting residences in the Seventeen Mile Road and Loon Lake area.

Kasworm said it was in southern Canada as of early this week.

Another bear was captured about 10 days ago three to four miles south of Sylvanite along the Yaak River, he said. The male, estimated to be about 4 years old, got into compost at a home and also was seen at a second house. It was released on Mount Henry.

In its Wednesday press release, FWP reported that a grizzly bear was killed on the east side of the Flathead Valley. A landowner reported the death, but no other details were released. As in the case of the Yaak grizzly mortalities, the Flathead Valley death is being investigated by state and federal law enforcement officers.

Additionally, an adult female grizzly along the North Fork of the Flathead River was reported dead by FWP grizzly bear management specialist Tim Manley. Lab tests were unable to determine the cause of death, according to FWP's press release.

However, the agency's release said the bear's death "may have been related to a recent capture of the bear for population monitoring. Manley, who has handled over 100 grizzly bears without a mortality, said that bears rarely die from the stress of capture, but it has been documented."