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New plan drafted for bears in Rockies, Cascades

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January 12, 2010 06:02 PM EST | AP


BILLINGS, Mont. — Wildlife officials from the United States and Canada plan to encourage conservation groups to buy key parcels of grizzly bear habitat in order to gauge how climate change is affecting them.

The change is among those proposed on Tuesday for future grizzly restoration efforts in the Northern Rockies and North Cascades.

There are an estimated 1,500 endangered bears in the region's four states and two provinces.

Idaho Fish and Game spokesman Gregg Losinski says the new recovery plan must be finished by the end of 2012.

It is being drafted this week in Missoula by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, composed of federal officials and representatives of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Washington, Alberta and British Columbia.