Montana ranchers tell Interior secretary grizzly bears are serious threat

(KPAX) The increasing grizzly bear population poses a serious threat for residents and livestock across rural Montana, ranchers told the federal Interior Secretary over the weekend.

Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt and Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte held a roundtable at the Rasmuson Wildlife Conservation Center in Dupuyer.

Participants discussed safety concerns and steps that can be taken to manage the grizzlies. But before officials can begin to take steps towards managing the population, the bears must first be delisted from the endangered species list, the ranchers said.

While the task of limiting the bears’ access to private land is still at hand, Rep. Gianforte said the bears’ recovery from endangerment is worth celebrating.

“The grizzly bear was endangered. The populations were reduced. They came under the Endangered Species Act. And they have recovered. We should be celebrating and taking a victory lap and transferring management back to the state,” Gianforte said. “I just believe that when decisions are made more locally, we get better results.”