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Natural Resources & Energy

Groups Ask Congress, Biden Admin For Better Coordinated Federal Action On Grizzly Protection

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David Mattson
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Conservation groups are sending letters to Congress as well as several federal agencies, asking for better coordinated federal action for grizzly bear populations.

This comes as grizzly bear researcher David Mattson released his report on a broad effort to secure the bear's future in the Northern Rockies.

According to his research, there needs to be more than 8,000 bears in the Montana, Idaho and Wyoming grizzly bear habitats. There are currently more than 2,000 in the Northern Rockies.

Mattson said that number can be increased by supporting the connectivity of grizzlies in all of the five populations.

"Interestingly, a lot of these bears that are dispersing and colonizing are ending up in places that hadn't been modeled as potential suitable habitat by any research," he said.

He said federal agencies need to help support this natural expansion bears are already doing on their own. Most importantly, by creating bridges across major highways and prioritizing grizzly protection on forest service roads.

He said the idea that there are too many bears already is not the case.

"The problem is, scientifically, it is not supported by the current consensus. So I think we need to start by acknowledging what the best available science tells us," said Mattson. "And then from that argue that the challenge is not to kill more bears, the challenge is to learn how to better live with them."

The letters include proposals on how the departments can help people co-exist with grizzlies.

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