(FLORENCE)- Two grizzlies are adjusting to new wilderness homes after being trapped and moved out of the Northern Bitterroot Valley. 

The pair of grizzlies had been spotted on several game cameras, and by local residents, in the Northern Bitterroot in early August. And although biologists with Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks said the bears hadn't yet caused conflicts with domestic animals or trash, they were spending more time around garbage, fruit trees, and livestock in the past few weeks. 

So in consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, FWP decided to set up a trap for the grizzlies in a rural area between Florence and Lolo. 

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Both Bears Were Trapped Between Lolo and Florence

Now, FWP reports they've been able to trap both bears, attach radios collars for tracking, and relocate them to a remote area on the edge of the Welcome Creek Wilderness in the Sapphire Mountains. That site was approved for grizzly relocations by U.S.F.W.S earlier this year. 

FWP says both bears were 2 years old. One was a male weighing 230-pounds, and the other was a female of 172-pounds. Biologists believe both were siblings. 

Credit: Montana FWP (FWP employee secures collar on female grizzly.)
Credit: Montana FWP (FWP employee secures collar on female grizzly.)

Not the First Time Grizzlies Have Been in the Bitterroot

This isn't the first time grizzlies have been seen in the Bitterroot, where there have been a growing number of sightings over the past 10 years. A few years ago, a grizzly was trapped and removed from the golf course north of Stevensville. 

FWP bear specialist Jamie Jonkel says the trapping is a reminder for everyone to be "extra diligent" right now, while the bears are hungry and looking for food before hibernating. 

“This is the time of year when more bears visit the valley bottoms in search of food and are often tempted by the attractants we have around our homes,” Jonkel said. “This year has been especially tough for bear conflicts, as there was a shortage of berries and other natural bear foods in many places.”

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