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Northwest Montana grizzly deaths spur pushback

In this July 6, 2011,  photo, a grizzly bear roams near Beaver Lake in Yellowstone National Park, Wy. (Jim Urquhart / AP)
In this July 6, 2011, photo, a grizzly bear roams near Beaver Lake in Yellowstone National Park, Wy. (Jim Urquhart / AP)
Associated Press

The mortality rate of grizzly bears in northwestern Montana has prompted a group of bear researchers to challenge whether the grizzly should be removed from federal protection.

This month, a grizzly bear was shot by a hunter east of Eureka and state wildlife managers killed another bear near Libby after it broke into a garage to eat a harvested elk.

The Missoulian reports the number of known grizzly deaths in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem recovery zone this year has reached 48.

Five nongovernmental grizzly bear researchers will challenge assertions that the ecosystem’s population can be delisted during a presentation Friday at the University of Montana.

Last month, a state biologist said it was too early to say whether the recovery zone grizzly deaths were alarming or even a trend.

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