Dr. Jeff Meldrum
Dr. Henner Fahrenbach
Saturday, September 08, 2007
By KEITH RIDLER (Associated Press Writer)
From Associated Press
September 07, 2007 10:36 PM EDT
- Federal and state wildlife officials said Friday they
are investigating the killing of a grizzly bear in north-central Idaho,
where the last confirmed sighting of the species was in 1946.
The bear, a member of a threatened species, was killed Monday by a
hunter near Kelly Creek about three miles from the Montana border, said
Steve Nadeau, statewide large carnivore manager for the Idaho fish and
Nadeau said the bear was not confirmed as a grizzly until Friday, after
the hunter and guide had packed it out of the remote, roadless area
and contacted authorities.
Officials did not release the identities of the hunter or the guide,
who was not present when the bear was killed.
Nadeau said the hunter, who is from , was on a guided trip,
hunting black bear with bait. Black bear hunting season opened Aug. 30.
Nadeau said the male grizzly weighed 400 to 500 pounds and was 6 to 8
years old. The hunter and guide skinned the carcass and brought it out
on horseback so it could be confirmed as a grizzly by authorities,
It is now in the possession of state fish and game department.
In April, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lifted Endangered Species
Act protections for grizzlies in and around .
But the bear killed Monday was not part of that population, Nadeau
said, and therefore retained federal threatened-species protection. He said
that is why the investigation also involves federal authorities.
Asked whether the hunter would likely face penalties, Nadeau said the
matter was under investigation.
Chris Servheen, Fish and Wildlife grizzly bear recovery coordinator,
said the death was under investigation.
In a federal court lawsuit, several environmental groups have
challenged the federal decision to lift the 32-year-old "threatened" status for
the 500 to 600 Yellowstone-area bears, which live in parts of ,
The groups say the grizzly gene pool is still too small to assure
future viability of the species that once roamed the area by the thousands.
The bear killed this week was in the Selway-Bitterroot ecosystem that
includes part of north-central Idaho and western Montana, and where
wildlife officials have been expecting grizzly bears to repopulate on their
"We've put an awful lot of effort in over the years to verify grizzly
bears are in the Selway ecosystem," Nadeau said. "That's one area where
we expected grizzly bears to show up - Kelly Creek."
Nadeau said the bear possibly came from the Cabinet-Yaak ecosystem in
western Montana or the Northern Continental Divide ecosystem that
includes Glacier National Park. DNA tests are planned to try and determine
the bear's origin.
Prior to Friday, Nadeau said Fish and Game had been telling black bear
hunters that there were no grizzly bears in the area. He said hunters
are now being warned that grizzlies are in the area, and that they are
not legal to hunt.
"Where there's one there are likely others," said Nadeau. "Grizzly
bears, like other animals, try to find each other."