Articles remembering and praising Chuck Jonkel continue to roll in, including the below column by Larry Wilson and nice pieces by Rob Breeding and Chris Peterson . . .
Dr. Charles ‘Chuck’ Jonkel passed over The Great Divide this week. He never owned property on the North Fork, but spent so many years here researching bears that I feel he was an actual North Forker.
My first memories of Chuck came in the late 1950s or early 1960s when he was on the North Fork doing research on black bears. Mel Ruder did an extensive article in the HHN with pictures of Chuck going into the den of a hibernating black bear to work on the sleeping bear.
This is truly the end of an era. Chuck Jonkel passed away Tuesday at age 85.
Rob Chaney of the Missoulian wrote a first-rate obituary. Recommended reading . . .
Grizzly bears emerging from their winter dens will encounter a changed landscape: Longtime grizzly advocate Chuck Jonkel has died.
“Mr. Jonkel was truly a pioneer in grizzly bear science,” said Leanne Marten, Regional Forester for the Forest Service’s Northern Region. “Montana will miss him greatly. Everything we know about grizzly bears is due to Mr. Jonkel’s expertise.”
Jonkel died Tuesday evening at his home in Missoula. He was 85.
“Tim Ryan from the Flathead Reservation came down on Monday and did a Salish smoke ceremony for Dad, and then (Blackfeet singer) Jack Gladstone and Patty Bartlett sang him off on Tuesday morning,” son Jamie Jonkel said. “We took him down by the river for the ceremony, and he really liked that.”
In the spring, a wildlife biologist’s thoughts turn to bear studies . . .
As a way to monitor the ongoing trend of grizzly bear recovery, wildlife biologists are about to begin capturing grizzlies in western Montana this month for an ongoing population study in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem.
Biologists will begin monitoring the distribution and population of bears in their respective jurisdictions this month. In order to attract bears, biologists utilize natural food sources such as fresh road–killed deer and elk. Potential trapping sites are baited with these natural foods and if indications are that grizzly bears are in the area, snares or culvert traps will be used to capture the bears. Once captured, the bears are sedated, studied, and released in accordance with strict protocols.
An interesting press release posted to Glacier Park’s web site yesterday . . .
Glacier National Park is participating in a long-term interagency program to monitor the trend of the grizzly bear population in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem. Bait stations, automated cameras, and traps will be used to capture and monitor grizzly bears within the park. The program attempts to maintain a sample of up to 10 radio-marked female grizzly bears out of an estimated population of 300 grizzly bears living in the park.
Bait stations and trap sites will be marked with brightly colored warning and closure signs. For safety reasons visitors are reminded to heed and comply with these signs and not enter areas closed for baiting or trapping. A man died last year seven miles east of Yellowstone National Park after he wandered into a capture site and was attacked by a grizzly bear. Trapping efforts will continue at various locations throughout Glacier National Park beginning June through October. For further information, please contact park bear biologist, John Waller, at (406) 888-7829.
A new and expansive effort to monitor the Northern Continental Divide’s grizzly bear population will capitalize on a creature comfort for bears: the irresistible urge to scratch their backs on trees.
The research project mainly will be aimed at determining whether collecting hair samples from rub trees over three successive years can provide a reliable measure of whether the region’s grizzly population is stable, growing or shrinking.
It will be led by Kate Kendall, the U.S. Geological Survey scientist who spearheaded two previous grizzly bear population studies based on genetic analysis of bear hair.
Here’s a better article on the recently completed grizzly bear DNA study. Yesterday’s AP write-up was a little thin.
From the Wednesday, September 17, 2008 online edition of the Daily Inter Lake . . .
The estimate is in: There were 765 grizzly bears roaming the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem during the summer of 2004.
That’s the official result of an ambitious and unprecedented genetic study of the largest grizzly bear population in the lower 48 states. The study will be published in the January edition of the Journal of Wildlife Management.
From the Tuesday, September 16, 2008 online edition of the Flathead Beacon . . .
The majestic grizzly bear, once king of the Western wilderness but threatened with extinction for a third of a century, has roared back in Montana…
Researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey announced Tuesday that there are approximately 765 bears in northwestern Montana. That’s the largest population of grizzly bears documented there in more than 30 years, and a sign that the species could be at long last rebounding.