History Of The Wall Creek Wildlife Management Area

Scientific Disciplines
Biological Sciences - Terrestrial
grizzly bear
ursus arctos
Cabinet Mountains
release site
USDA Fish and Wildlife Service
Volume 17, No. 1-4

Grizzly bear population augmentation in the cabinet 
Mountains of northwest montana
Wayne Kasworm,* USDA Fish and Wildlife Service, Libby, Montana 59923, 
Kimberly M. Annis, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Libby, Montana 59923
Timothy Manley, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Kalispell, Montana 59901
Heather Reich, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Kalispell, Montana 59901
Derek Reich, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Kalispell, Montana 59901
Jim Williams, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Kalispell, Montana 59901
Chris Servheen, USDA Fish and Wildlife Service, Missoula, Montana 59812
The Cabinet Mountains grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) population was estimated at 
15 or fewer individuals in 1988 and believed to be declining toward extinction.  In response 
to this decline, a test of population augmentation techniques was conducted during 1990-
1994 when four subadult female grizzly bears were transplanted to the area. Two criteria were 
identified as measures of success: bears must remain in the target area for one year, and bears 
should ultimately breed with native male grizzly bears and reproduce. Reproductive success 
of any of the remaining individuals could not be established until 2006 when genetic analysis 
of hair snag samples collected from 2002-2005 indicated that one of the transplanted bears 
remained in the Cabinet Mountains and had reproduced. The detected bear was transplanted 
in 1993 as a 2-year-old and was identified by a hair snag within 5 mi of the original release 
site. Genetic analysis indicated she had produced at least six offspring, and two of her 
female offspring had also reproduced. This reproduction indicates that the original test of 
augmentation was successful with at least one of the transplanted individuals. Success of the 
grizzly bear augmentation test prompted continuation of this effort. The Northern Continental 
Divide Ecosystem area of north central Montana has been the source of seven additional bears 
transplanted to the Cabinet Mountains during 2005-2010. All were female bears except one: a 
young male was moved in 2010. Two female bears were killed and two female bears left the 
area. Fates and movements of these bears are discussed.
History of the wall creek wildlife management area 
Fred King (retired), Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, 1400 South 19th Street,  
Bozeman, Montana 59718 
As the manager for the Wall Creek Wildlife Management Area for 34 years, I will 
provide an overview of the history of the FWP purchase of the Wall Creek WMA as well as an 
overview of the history of the grazing system and elk and livestock use of the game range.