Grizzly bear confirmed in Big Belt Mountains

Star Staff

A grizzly bear has been confirmed in the Big Belt Mountains west of White Sulphur Springs, according to wildlife biologists.

A photo of a 3 1/2-year-old bear was taken this summer by a remote trail camera being used by biologists from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) for a wolf-monitoring survey.

“The animal appeared to be alone, and FWP is not aware of any conflicts it was involved it. It’s unclear where the young bear came from,” an FWP news release noted. The Big Belts separate the Helena and White Sulphur Springs valleys.

It’s the second grizzly sighting i 2017 in areas where the bears have not been present for up to a century.

The news release said that in June a pair of young grizzlies apparently came down the Teton River from the Rocky Mountain Front and ended up near Stanford, east of Great Falls. They were captured and euthanized after they preyed on livestock.

The bears have traveled river corridors east from the Rocky Mountain Front in recent years looking for natural foods, biologists said.

FWP has taken a series of steps to help deal with the expanding grizzly bear population along the Front, the news release stated, adding thata new bear management specialist will begin working for FWP out of Conrad next week.

Plus public meetings have been held in bear country teaching residents to be “bear aware” by picking up food attractants and protecting livestock.