CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Researchers say grizzly bear deaths have declined more than 50 percent this year in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem. Frank van Manen leads the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team.

He says 24 grizzly bears have died so far in 2013 in the area, which includes northwestern Wyoming and portions of eastern Idaho and southern Montana. He says 56 bears died in the area last year. Van Manen says the rate of female bears with cubs also is high this year.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports the study team will address how grizzly bears respond to changes in food supplies at a Yellowstone Ecosystem Subcommittee meeting Wednesday and Thursday in Bozeman, Mont. The bears' reaction to changes in food availability will help determine if they can come off the endangered species list.