Gov. Gianforte issued a petition to take grizzly bears off the endangered species list in the North Continental Divide Ecosystem located in northwest Montana.

The governor believes that the increased population of these bears is negatively impacting communities and livestock purposes and has surpassed the goal of grizzly bear recovery.

If the petition for grizzly bear delistment is successful, state law would be able to manage and regulate grizzly bear population and conflicts.

The North Continental divide is one of four regions apart of the recovery zone to support the population of grizzly bears. The most current estimation of grizzly bears in this area of the state is around 1100 bears. The most current estimation of grizzly bears in this area of the state is around 1100 bears.

Other regions of this recovery zone include Yellowstone National Park at around 1000 bears, the Cabinet-Yaak ecosystem and Bitterroot National Forest and other surrounding areas. Where there are no residential bears recorded in the area. The recovery zones in the greater Yellowstone and North Continent Divide have been successful in surpassing numbers needed for increased bear populations.

In 1973, grizzly bears were classified as threatened under the Endangered Species Act after population significantly decreased in the lower 48 states. Under this act, it is illegal to harm, kill, or possess threatened and endangered species.

Montana FWP works directly with the public to address local bear conflicts and implement measures to prevent future conflicts.

FWP has also been working with other state officials to address grizzly bear population trends in the NCDE for the past 18 years. Some of the methods used in collecting population data include the survival and reproductive rates of female bears, reports of female grizzly bear deaths, and overseeing distribution rates of bears in and around the designated recovery areas.