In northwestern Montana, the human population has grown by about 30 percent in the last decade. That’s a problem for some of the region’s other notable inhabitants: grizzly bears. At least half of the grizzlies in the Lower 48 live in northwestern Montana, and as the area becomes more crowded, regrettable bear-human interactions become more common. Grizzly bears are a protected species, so the traditional method of dealing with problematic wildlife — shooting it — is not an option. Instead, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has taken a more humane approach: education. For the bears, that means learning that straying too close to humans will have unpleasant results, ranging from barking dogs to rubber bullets. For people, that means a crash course in proper wildlife management: Just because it’s cute (what bear educator Tim Manley calls “a golden retriever type of grizzly”) doesn’t mean it won’t maul you.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.