An Environmental Species Act Success Story
Grizzly bears are found in three small regions of Idaho, including the Selkirk Mountains, Cabinet Mountains, and the western edge of the Yellowstone ecosystem where it overlaps with Idaho.
The greater Yellowstone population was recently removed from the endangered species list. Management of grizzly bears in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem was subsequently delegated to Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho wildlife management agencies. While the recovery of the Yellowstone grizzly bear population is an Environmental Species Act (ESA) success story, ICL remains concerned that Idaho Fish and Game’s primary management strategy for grizzly bears is the use of take (hunting) to address problem bears.
Coexisting and Preventing Conflicts
ICL believes that the best management strategy for grizzly bears and black bears is to take preventative measures to avoid conflict between people and bears in the first place. Simple steps can be taken to prevent unwanted conflicts between people and bears, such as storing trash, food, and other attractants in locations or containers where bears cannot gain access. Programs are available to help subsidize the cost of electric fencing to prevent bears from gaining access to orchards and livestock.
Public education is also critical to the successful coexistence of people and bears. ICL and other organizations provide opportunities to the public to learn about proper storage of food, trash, and other attractants at home or in the woods. These events also help people learn how to distinguish between black bears and grizzly bears, know how to respond in the event of an encounter, and deploy bear spray during an attack.
Finally, ICL is also working to convince land managers, such as the Forest Service, to implement rules that require appropriate recreational practices in bear country. Through measures such as these, we can greatly reduce conflicts between people and bears. As a result, there will be much less of a need to remove problem bears using lethal methods.