Wildlife officials report increase in grizzly bear vehicle deaths

    Courtesy of MDT, CSKT & WTI-MSU

    Montana wildlife officials say there has been an uptick this year in grizzly deaths, especially when it comes to vehicle collisions.

    They say about 1,000 grizzlies live in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem.

    "We've also had an unfortunate amount of vehicle collisions,” said Dillon Tabish, of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Region 1. “We usually average about three, but we’re already up to 13 this year."

    FWP said they think it’s because there are more grizzly bears and more people.

    They have some advice for drivers:

    "If they are driving early in the morning or late at night when bears are most active on the roads, drivers should be aware and cognizant," said Tabish.

    FWP told NBC Montana there are more grizzlies dying or being moved from the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem. They are at 27, when they usually average 25, but the increases are being monitored.

    "FWP has proposed a goal or objective for that population to have a minimum of 800 grizzly bears in the NCDE," Tabish said.

    The Fish and Wildlife Commission approved the proposal Thursday. Starting in late August it will be open for public comment.

    "That's going to be a great collaborative opportunity for us to all come together as Montanans to decide how we want to conserve grizzly bear populations into the future," said Tabish.

    They hope to keep the population at 1,000 and cut down on grizzly mortalities in the area.

    You can find the proposal here.

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