Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Grizzly bear deaths drop in Greater Yellowstone
First Published Nov 05 2013 11:13 am • Last Updated Nov 05 2013 01:13 pm

Casper, Wyo. • Grizzly bear deaths have declined more than 50 percent this year in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem, a vast area centered on the national park but also including neighboring areas of northwestern Wyoming, eastern Idaho and southern Montana.

Frank van Manen, leader of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team, said 24 grizzly bears have died so far in 2013 in the area. He said 56 bears died in the area last year. He said the rate of female bears with cubs also is high this year.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The numbers are particularly notable because whitebark pine trees produced fewer cones than usual, an important food for the bears. The bears’ reaction to declines in cone production will help determine if the bear is removed from the endangered species list.

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 Casper Star-Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/HEyeVh).

Van Manen warns it’s risky to draw long-term conclusions from this year’s numbers.

"These systems are complex, and there are a lot of interrelations we can’t predict," he said. "This isn’t a trend, but it is a noteworthy observation."

The Yellowstone ecosystem did have a large crop of berries, which helped provide additional food, he said.

Dan Thompson, large carnivore section supervisor for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, said conflicts between grizzly bears and humans are also down this year in Wyoming. He credits that in part to continued public education on how to store food properly in the backcountry.

Van Manen said hunters generally are responsible for the largest number of bear deaths. He said hunters were second behind livestock conflicts this year. Grizzlies injured two people in Wyoming and two people in Yellowstone National Park in 2013.

Bear deaths from 2013 are not final since grizzlies are still active. They should begin hibernating soon.


story continues below
story continues below

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed grizzlies from the endangered species list in 2007. A federal judge put them back on the list in 2009 because of several concerns, including the future of whitebark pine. The tree is dying in many areas because of insects and disease.

An appeals court in 2011 told the Fish and Wildlife Service it needed to know more about bears’ reaction to the tree’s decline before grizzlies could be removed from federal protections. If the interagency study team reports that plentiful whitebark pine is not critical to grizzly bears’ survival, the Fish and Wildlife Service could move toward a delisting proposal.

Chris Servheen, grizzly bear coordinator for the Fish and Wildlife Service, said the agency likely will not make a decision on a delisting proposal until late December or early January.

———

Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, http://www.trib.com



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.