Selkirks Grizzly Bears

The Selkirk grizzly bear recovery zone is the only one of the six recovery zones.


Grizzly bears originally ranged throughout most of western North America, but began disappearing from many western states to where only a few hundred grizzly bears remained south of Canada, by the 1970’s. The grizzly bear was federally listed as a threatened species in 1975. Today, their population is confined to less than two percent of their range, which is represented in six population centers south of Canada. This includes the Yellowstone, Northern Continental Divide, Cabinet-Yaak, North Cascades, Bitterroot, and Selkirk recovery zones.

The Selkirk grizzly bear recovery zone is the only one of the six recovery zones, which includes a portion of adjacent British Columbia as part of the lands that are necessary to achieve recovery of grizzly bears in that ecosystem. The estimate for the number of grizzly bears within this ecosystem range from somewhere between 50 and 70 bears. They are believed to be equally distributed between the United States and the British Columbia’s portion of the ecosystems and freely move across the border between the two countries.

Illegal mortalities (poaching, mistaken identification etc.) has always been a problem for this small grizzly bear population and may very well be one the leading factors which may limit recovery of this population. Human development (roads, homes, towns etc.) surrounding this ecosystem has also had its effect of this grizzly bear population. Recent genetic research into grizzly bears within the United States and north through Canada and into the southern part of Alaska has shown that the Selkirk grizzly bears show genetic markers suggesting that this population has been genetically and demographically isolated for at least the past several generations.

Our Efforts

  • Selkirk Conservation Alliance with the support of the Yellowstone 2 Yukon Initiative has participated in several seasons of ‘bear awareness’ campaigns, which targeted local youth groups and community events.
  • We have collected and evaluated information on the current conditions of grizzly bear habitat on lands under the jurisdiction of the Idaho Department of Lands within this ecosystem.
  • Provided comments pertaining the proposed grizzly bear management guidelines to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement of the Forest Plan Revision for the Idaho Panhandle National Forests.
  • Continue to be engaged with land management agencies in regards to the management of grizzly bear habitat and recovery.
  • Participated with Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Forest Service and Western Wildlife Outreach (formally Grizzly Bear Outreach Program) in the development of list of priority grizzly bear sanitation projects.
  • Provide funding and support for the implementation of bear sanitation projects within the ecosystem. We work closely with partners that include, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Kalispell Tribe, Defenders of Wildlife, Western Wildlife Outreach and Boy Scouts of America.