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Montana official: Some Northern Rockies grizzly bears could come off Endangered Species list

The head of Montana's wildlife agency says federal officials will seek to lift federal protections from some threatened grizzly bears in the Northern Rockies in the next two years.

Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks director Jeff Hagener said Thursday he expects the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to propose rules that could remove two populations of grizzlies from the Endangered Species list.

He says one could lift protections for bears in and around Yellowstone Park in 2015. The other would be for grizzlies in the Northern Continental Divide by 2016.

Hagener says estimates show about 740 grizzly bears live in and around Yellowstone, while about 1,000 live in the Northern Continental Divide region.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman Leith Edgar didn't have immediate comment Thursday.

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