|The Mountain-Prairie Region|
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228
July 1, 2004
Contact: Dominic Domenici 307-261-6365
Choteau Man Pays Fine for Killing Grizzly Bear
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service fined Lew Clark, of Choteau, Montana, $2,000 for knowingly taking a threatened species in violation of the Endangered Species Act.
After a four month investigation, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Special Agents identified Clark as the person who killed the bear. During an interview, Clark admitted to shooting and killing a grizzly bear in the spring of 2000. After killing the sow grizzly bear, Clark removed and destroyed the radio collar from the bear’s neck.
Clark returned to the scene of the killing in 2002 and disposed of the bear’s skull in a remote location. Clark has agreed to cooperate with authorities in locating and retrieving the skull.
Grizzly bears were listed under the Endangered Species Act as a threatened species in the lower 48 states in 1975. Historically, about 50,000 grizzly bears are believed to have ranged throughout western North America. Today, there are about 1,200-1,400 grizzlies located in Idaho, Montana, Washington, and Wyoming. Almost half of that population inhabits the Yellowstone ecosystem.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 544 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies
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