BOZEMAN, Montana -

The following is a news release from the U.S. Geological Survey:

As part of ongoing efforts required under the Endangered Species Act to monitor the population of grizzly bears in the Yellowstone ecosystem, the U.S. Geological Survey, in conjunction with Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, is working to inform the public that pre-baiting and scientific trapping operations are ongoing within the Gravelly and Madison Ranges of Montana.  Biologists, with the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team (IGBST), began work in southwest Montana on June 21st and will continue trapping efforts through August 15th.  Trapping operations can include a variety of activities, but all areas where work is being conducted will have major access points marked with warning signs.  It is critical that all members of the public heed these signs.

Monitoring of grizzly bear distribution and other activities are vital to ongoing recovery of grizzlies in the Yellowstone Ecosystem.  In order to attract bears, biologists utilize natural food sources such as fresh road-killed deer and elk.  Potential trapping sites are baited with these natural foods and if indications are that grizzly bears are in the area, culvert traps or foot snares will be used to capture the bears.  Once trapped, the bears are handled in accordance with strict protocols developed by the IGBST.

Whenever bear trapping activities are being conducted for scientific purposes, the area around the site will be posted with bright warning signs to inform the public of the activities occurring.  These signs are posted along the major access points to the trapping site.  It is important that the public heed these signs and do not venture into an area that has been posted.  For more information regarding grizzly bear trapping efforts call the IGBST hotline at 406-994-6675.