“Town Crier” newsletter – Briefs from the Region (2) – 2/13/20
According to the website Newser, roughly 25 trains move through the grizzly bear recovery zone in northwest Montana each day and, in 2019, claimed the lives of some 8 grizzlies. The bears were reportedly attracted by cow carcasses near the tracks and are among 51 total that died in Montana’s Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem last year—a figure that tied 2018 numbers, but one roughly 76 percent higher than 2017’s of just 29 deaths. Researchers are now developing a system to alert bears as to oncoming train traffic, but poaching and car-related deaths still factor somewhat significantly. Despite calls for concern, Montana state biologist Cecily Costello says train deaths are a result of “way more bears” in the region, with a sustainable population of 1,051, up from the meager 400 alive in 1975.