The Missoulian has an excellent story on the board of review findings concerning last summer’s mountain biker fatality. It includes links to the actual report document, as well as to the board’s recommendations for alleviating future biking-bear encounters . . .
An analysis of the fatal collision last summer between a grizzly bear and a mountain biker near Coram recommends more safety evaluation before new biking trails are built in grizzly habitat.
“Current safety messaging at trailheads and in the media is usually aimed at hikers,” the interagency board of review report stated. “However mountain biking is in many ways more likely to result in injury or death from bear attacks to people who participate in this activity.
“In addition, there are increasing numbers of mountain bikers using bear habitat and pressure to increase mountain bike access to areas where black bear and grizzly bear encounters are very likely.”
Science is at its best when it produces unexpected results . . .
Research that compared Yellowstone National Park grizzly bear and wolf interactions with those same animals in Sweden has produced a surprising finding: brown bear presence in both ecosystems reduces the wolf kill rate.
“It’s a baffling finding,” said Doug Smith, Yellowstone’s wolf biologist. “To be honest, for 20 years I’ve been saying bears increase wolf kill rates because bears steal so many carcasses.”
That data from two very different ecosystems pointed to the same conclusion helped convince Yellowstone bear biologist Kerry Gunther that the research was “not just a fluke.”
Removal of Yellowstone area grizzlies from the Endangered Species List is by no means a done deal . . .
Federal officials are delaying their decision on whether to lift protections for more than 700 grizzly bears in and around Yellowstone National Park and allow hunting, amid opposition from dozens of American Indian tribes and conservation groups.
Officials had planned to finalize the proposal to turn jurisdiction on grizzlies over to state officials in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming by the end of 2016.
But U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Assistant Regional Director Michael Thabault said it could take the agency another six months to finish reviewing 650,000 public comments that have poured in on the proposal.
Members of the Yellowstone Ecosystem Subcommittee of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee voted to approve a conservation strategy allowing for delisting of the grizzly bear in the region including Yellowstone Park. The vote was not quite unanimous, with the superintendent of Yellowstone Park voting against it and Leander Watson of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribe abstaining . . .
Wildlife officials have moved one step closer to removing the Yellowstone grizzly population from the Endangered Species Act by approving a future conservation strategy.
The Yellowstone Ecosystem Subcommittee of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee voted to approve the conservation strategy, sending it to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of what has been a months-long process to potentially remove the Yellowstone grizzly from federal protection.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed lifting the federal protections for the Yellowstone bears in March. Grizzly bears were first listed as threatened in 1975 when the Yellowstone population was estimated to have as few as 136 bears. Recent estimates say the population is now above 700.
Yet another meeting to discuss removing Yellowstone area grizzlies from the Endangered Species List . . .
State and federal wildlife managers are considering removing Endangered Species Act protections from grizzly bears living in Yellowstone National Park.
Officials are meeting in Cody on Wednesday and Thursday to discuss post-delisting management plans. The member agencies of the Yellowstone Ecosystem Subcommittee had hoped to approve a final draft of the post-delisting management plant, but officials say it’s unclear that will happen.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed lifting the federal protections for the Yellowstone bears in March. Grizzly bears were first listed as threatened in 1975 when the Yellowstone population was estimated to have as few as 136 bears. Recent estimates say the population has now climbed above 700.
It’s that time of year. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is busy dealing with nuisance grizzlies as they fatten up ahead of winter hibernation. One two-year-old delinquent was captured near the county landfill and turned loose up the North Fork’s Whale Creek drainage . . .
Wildlife managers captured a 5- or 6-year-old, 365-pound, adult male grizzly bear above Lake Blaine on the east side of the Flathead Valley Oct. 19 after the bruin was reported to have been damaging fruit trees in the area.
Officials with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks relocated the bear to the east side of Hungry Horse Reservoir. It was fitted with a GPS collar and had not been captured previously
Meanwhile, managers also caught a 2-year-old male grizzly across U.S. Highway 93 from the Flathead County Landfill after the bear was reportedly eating apples at a residence.
Wildlife managers continue to work on a plan to remove grizzly bears from the Endangered Species List. Meanwhile, there’s evidence of contact between the two main grizzly population centers . . .
Federal plans to delist the grizzly bear from Endangered Species Act protection will get a second round of public comment.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Tuesday announcement follows its release of a peer-review report generally approving its management plan for allowing state management of grizzlies in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Coincidentally, it also arrives on the heels of reports that Yellowstone grizzlies may be making contact with their fellows in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem north of Missoula.
Montana, Idaho and Wyoming state wildlife managers have all proposed plans for both protecting and hunting Yellowstone grizzly bear populations, assuming they leave federal management. Northern grizzlies are considered a separate population, although they are undergoing a similar delisting process that isn’t as far along as the Yellowstone one.
State wildlife biologists aren’t ready to say whether the grizzly bear or bears spotted this year in the Upper Big Hole area originated in the Yellowstone ecosystem or traveled from northern Montana.
“We can’t honestly say yet, north or south,” said Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologist Kevin Frey on Monday. “The Big Hole is kind of the gray zone between the two ecosystems.”
The two confirmed grizzly sightings this year are the first in the area in nearly a century. Biologists aren’t certain whether the two sightings, roughly 40 miles apart, were of the same bear. Even though the range makes it entirely possible, Frey has his doubts.
Representatives of several tribes held a gathering in Glacier Park to speak out in favor of retaining grizzly bear protections . . .
As federal wildlife managers prepare to move grizzly bears off the Endangered Species List in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, opposition to delisting the iconic — and to many, sacred — animal has continued.
Led by several tribal nations, a crowd of roughly 100 people met at the eastern gateway of Glacier National Park on Friday for a “Prayer for the Great Bear” ceremony.
David Bearshield of the Cheyenne Nation sang a prayer in his native language with the shore of St. Mary’s Lake as the backdrop.