By Laura Roady
If and when the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE) grizzly bear population is delisted, the Selkirk/Cabinet grizzly bear population may be included.
Grizzly bears were listed as a threatened species in the Lower 48 states under the Endangered Species Act in 1975 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
In May, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission adopted a position statement on grizzly bears in Idaho. They are proposing that the Selkirk and Cabinet grizzly bear populations be delisted with the NCDE population (includes Glacier National Park and the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex in the Northern Continental Divide Region of northwestern Montana).
Given the small recovery area of the Selkirk and Cabinet grizzly bear populations they may never get delisted explained Tony McDermott, Idaho Fish and Game Commission.
“Our state perspective is that if NCDE gets delisted on its own, it will make it a tougher road for the two populations in Idaho and northwest Montana,” said Chip Corsi, Idaho Fish and Game, at the May KVRI meeting.
There is movement between the Selkirk, Cabinet and NCDE populations and the Commission is trying to tie the North Idaho population in with the NCDE population said McDermott.
The Cabinet/Yaak is a tough area for grizzly bears to make a living and the question is why they are listed as a separate population said McDermott.
As of October 2012, the USFWS estimated over 40 grizzly bears in the Cabinet/Yaak ecosystem and about 80 bears in the Selkirk ecosystem. A DNA population study is under way to determine the number of grizzly bears in the Cabinet/Yaak ecosystem. More....