Serving Franklin County, WA

Grizzly sow collared near Metaline Falls

METALINE FALLS — State wildlife biologists recently captured and fitted a female grizzly bear with a radio collar.

The bear, accompanied by three yearling offspring, was then released to help biologists learn more about grizzly bears in Washingtons tate.

"Understanding how the bears are using the landscape will aid biologists in advancing recovery of the species," state Department of Fish and Wildlife Diversity Division Manager Hannah Anderson said.

The bear was captured about 10 miles from the Washington-Idaho border on U.S. Forest Service managed land. The three yearlings dispersed into the surrounding woods while biologists did a general health check on the mother and fitted her collar, biologists said, noting the cubs returned to be with mom when the humans went away.

Biologists were alerted to the presence of the bear through images captured on cameras, inside the Selkirk Grizzly Bear Recovery Zone in a remote area of the Selkirk Mountains, where the grizzly population is considered healthy and growing at 2.9% per year.

"A group of bears — a mother and three cubs — were photographed on another occasion on a game camera in the same area 3-4 weeks prior to the capture," U.S. Forest Service bear biologist Wayne Kasworm said. "The natal collar — the white ring around the neck — of one of the cubs leads us to believe this is the same family of bears."

Four adult males were captured in 1985, 2016 and 2018, but this was the first instance of a female capture.

Between 70-80 grizzlies are believed to be in the recovery zone that extends north into British Columbia.


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