Researchers: Yellowstone grizzlies not in decline

Published: Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014 1:30 p.m. CDT

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A government-sponsored research team says there are no signs of decline among Yellowstone's grizzly bears despite warnings from outside scientists.

Members of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study team say in a new study that data collected on the bruins over the past several decades contradict claims they could be in serious trouble. The back-and-forth comes as officials consider lifting the animals' federal protections.

The peer-reviewed study is slated to appear in the scientific journal Conservation Letters.

Lead author Frank van Manen is with the U.S. Geological Survey. He says researchers re-examined how bears are counted after a prominent University of Colorado professor raised concerns about the government's methods.

Van Manen says the results confirm the validity of assertions that more than 700 bears live in the Yellowstone region.

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