Sibling grizzly bears captured north of Whitefish

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A grizzly sow and cub feed high above the trail in Glacier National Park recently. Photo was taken with 600 mm lens. The federal government announced Thursday it would delist grizzlies in the Yellowstone ecosystem. The Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem, of which Glacier is a part, could see delisting of bears as well. (Chris Peterson photo)

Two young grizzly bears frequenting homes along the Stillwater River north of Whitefish have been captured and relocated.

According to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials, the 2 1/2 years old siblings were captured after landowners had reported they were trying to get into a dog kennel to get dog food. A few days earlier, neighbors to the south reported bears had killed chickens on their property but felt it was black bears and not grizzly bears. Their scats were also full of sunflower seeds indicating they had been getting access to bird feeders in the area. Traps were set at both places and only the two grizzly bears were captured.

This was a first time capture for both bears. The first bear captured was a 172-pound female and her 200-pound male sibling was captured the next night.

The bears were probably left in the area by the adult female that went off to breed, FWP states in a press release. Grizzly bears typically kick off their 2-year-old cubs during June, which is the peak of breeding season.

The decision was made to relocate the bears to different locations. The female was relocated to the upper Good Creek drainage in the Salish Range. The male was released in Deep Creek along the east side of Hungry Horse Reservoir. Both bears were fitted with GPS radio collars.

Residents are reminded to secure attractants such as garbage, pet food, livestock feed, and bird seed. Pick your fruit when it is ripe and protect your fruit trees, livestock and poultry with electric fencing.

In Montana, it is illegal to feed bears and ungulates. This includes putting out grain and deer blocks. For information on electric fencing and living in bear country: http://fwp.mt.gov/fishAndWildlife/livingWithWildlife/beBearAware/default.html.

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