MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — Two conservation groups have purchased an undeveloped subdivision in northwestern Montana to help protect grizzly bear habitat near the confluence of the Kootenai and Yaak rivers.
The Vital Ground Foundation and the Yellowstone to Yukon Initiative say the property near Troy, along with seven other land purchases made in 2017, combine to protect 42.5 acres (17 hectares) of prime habitat for wildlife moving between the Cabinet and Purcell mountains.
Wildlife biologists say the Kootenai and Yaak rivers are crucial zones for habitat connection and new development could fragment the corridor. The purchase of 12 parcels of land helps reduce the risk of dense residential subdivisions that could interrupt wildlife movement.
Grizzly bears in the Cabinet-Yaak recovery area are split into two subgroups of about 25 bears. The project aims to allow those groups to reconnect.