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Grizzly death count rises as Yellowstone population grows

The number of grizzly bear deaths or removals in the Yellowstone National Park region has climbed to an all-time high this year, but biologists aren’t worried about the animal’s long-term survival.

They say the deaths of 55 bears shouldn’t interfere with plans to remove federal protections from grizzlies, which are listed as threatened in the region spanning parts of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. Deaths totaled 28 last year.

A group of biologists called the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team estimate that more than 700 grizzlies live in the Yellowstone area. That’s up from about 600 in 2010.

Study team leader Frank van Manen says a poor berry crop caused bears to roam farther for food this year. Wildlife managers euthanized 24 grizzlies for run-ins with people, property or livestock.

Four of those bears’ cubs were removed and sent to zoos.

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