CASPER, Wyo. -- The grizzly bear population in the greater Yellowstone area is growing despite an increase in the number of bear deaths.
The Casper Star-Tribune reported Tuesday that there are an estimated 608 grizzlies living in northwestern Wyoming neighboring parts of Idaho and Utah. That's up from an estimated 593 grizzlies last year.
As of Monday, 50 grizzlies have died in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem, up from 44 last year.
Mark Bruscino of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department said that bear deaths are up because the growing population has expanded its range, creating more potential for conflicts. The death rate is considered sustainable.
Six recent grizzly deaths in Wyoming are being investigated as human-caused. Few details have been released but they come at a time when grizzly-hunter encounters are most frequent.