Montana Grizzly Spending Spring Break in Idaho's Panhandle



Ethyl the grizzly bear was photographed in 2012 near Lake Blaine, Montana.
  • Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks
  • Ethyl the grizzly bear was photographed in 2012 near Lake Blaine, Mont.

She's known as Ethyl.

Originally tagged and fitted with a tracking collar by Montana wildlife officers near Kalispell, Mont., in 2006, the 20-year-old giant grizzly has decided to spend part of her spring break in Idaho's Panhandle.

The Missoulian reports
that officials lost track of the animal in December 2013. But shortly thereafter, she was discovered north of Shoshone County Airport, near Smelterville, Idaho. Wildlife officials were puzzled, because most grizzlies had been hibernating. Biologists say they won't receive a definite location of Ethyl until this April, when her tracking collar "wakes up" from a battery-saving mode.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Idaho Panhandle National Forests told the Missoulian that if Ethyl was still in the St. Joe Ranger District, she would be far outside where Forest Service biologists would expect to find a grizzly.

Which makes Ethyl even more unique, due to her traveling instincts. Officials said a typical female grizzly her age has a range of only 60 to 100 miles.

"She's moving through thousands of square miles," said Wayne Wakkinen, a senior wildlife bioligist with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

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