Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks maintains a strict population monitoring program designed to maintain a healthy grizzly bear population, but there have been three fatalities reported recently.

Information and Program Manager for District One, Dillon Tabish said one was struck by a train.

“Last week we had a grizzly bear cub that was killed in a train collision on the tracks near Columbia Falls,” said Tabish. “We didn’t find any evidence of track problems at the site, nor were there any other bears involved in the crash. Unfortunately, the bear was just crossing the tracks at the wrong time and was killed.”

Tabish related how the other two bears were killed.

“We also had two other grizzly bear deaths.” He said. “Both were adult females wearing radio collars in separate incidents. Those radio collars will notify us if there is a possible mortality. FWP responded to those radio collars and found both bears to be dead. Based on the investigation, it appears both those bears died of natural causes.”

Tabish said both females had yearling cubs, and that they were old enough to survive on their own as hibernation approaches.

The Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem is home to more than 1,000 grizzly bears. The NCDE is a designated grizzly bear recovery zone that spans Glacier National Park, parts of the Flathead and Blackfeet Indian Reservations, parts of five national forests and a significant amount of state and private lands.