Bears in the wild, move on average at about 1.4 miles per hour. Photo: Buckrail // Nick Sulzer

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) – Wildlife officials say grizzly bear numbers are holding steady in the US Northern Rockies as plans to hunt the animals remain mired in a legal dispute.

A Friday US Fish and Wildlife Service report said there are more than 700 bears in the Yellowstone region of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.

More than 1,000 occupy northwestern Montana including Glacier National Park.

Both populations are considered recovered after being decimated by hunting and trapping early last century. But they also experience high death rates amid conflicts with humans and livestock.

About 130 grizzlies roam areas of northern Idaho, northeastern Washington and southern British Columbia.

The US least year lifted federal protections for Yellowstone bears, which would have allowed hunting in Idaho and Wyoming. A judge reversed the move and an appeal is pending.

Hunting plans in Wyoming are tied up in court. (Rachael Dunlop)