Tag Archives: bears

Be ‘bear aware’ as bears emerge from dens

Grizzly Bear Sow and cubs - NPS photo, Tim Rains
Grizzly Bear Sow and cubs – NPS photo, Tim Rains

A timely reminder from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks . . .

Grizzly and black bears are emerging from dens, based on radio collar locations, track reports, and observations.

Males tend to emerge earlier than females; with the warming weather and increasing day length, more bears will be emerging in the coming weeks. As grizzly and black bears emerge, they will be moving to lower elevations to take advantage of the green-up of vegetation.

After a bear emerges, it takes a few weeks for its digestive system to get back to normal; the bear has been in the den for four to five months. The stomach and digestive system is empty so the bear starts out eating dry grass or roughage to activate the digestive system. Bears will be attracted to anything that smells like food.

By April 1, residents in bear country should take down bird feeders, secure garbage inside a closed garage or secure shed, feed pets inside, clean up chicken and livestock feed, and in general remove all odorous substances that can draw bears. Instead of putting out hummingbird feeders we recommend putting up hanging baskets of flowers instead.

A properly installed and maintained electric fence is an excellent way to protect livestock, poultry, beehives, rabbits, fruit trees, and gardens from bears. FWP has brochures and a webpage where you can get additional information on electric fencing at: http://fwp.mt.gov/fishAndWildlife/livingWithWildlife/beBearAware/bearAwareTools.html.

Hikers, mountain bikers, hunters, and other recreationalists should carry bear spray, keep it readily available for use, and know how to use it.

Bear hibernation linked to changes in gut microbes

Grizzly Bear - Thomas Lefebvre, via Unsplash
Grizzly Bear – Thomas Lefebvre, via Unsplash

Two years ago, we mentioned the weird stuff that goes on when bears hibernate. Here’s another article along those lines . . .

Each year, bears hibernate for the winter. They gorge themselves on food to pack on fat, but somehow avoid health consequences. Now, scientists have found that the bears’ shifting metabolic status is associated with significant changes in their gut microbes.

“The restructuring of the microbiota into a more avid energy harvester during summer, which potentially contributes to the increased adiposity gain without impairing glucose metabolism, is quite striking,” said Fredrik Backhed, one of the researchers, in a news release.

The composition of gut microbiota can influence the amount of energy harvested from the diet. In fact, microbiota shifts in people who are obese and in those with type 2 diabetes.

In this latest study, the researchers collected fecal samples from wild bears during hibernation and in the active period. Then, the researchers analyzed the microbes living within these sample. The scientists found reduced diversity in the hibernation microbiota…

Read more . . .

Montana FWP: The effects of fire on animals

Here’s a timely news release by Bruce Auchly of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks discussing the effect — direct and indirect —  of fire on animals . . .

Summer’s fires are over, right?

All that smoke-in-the-nose, ashes-in-mouth is past for the year. Or so we hope.

Yet even in the worst of it many of us had choices. Some folks left Montana, others sought relief in air conditioning at home or office or both.

Animals don’t have those luxuries. Yes, birds can fly and bears can burrow into a den, but fires in July and August happen at the wrong time for migration and hibernation.

First, let’s slay a rumor. The rash of bear conflicts, mostly black bears, this summer is not because smoke from forest fires was forcing bears out of their mountain redoubts and into towns. They are just farther afield this year looking for food.

Continue reading Montana FWP: The effects of fire on animals

Berry hunting bears trigger St. Mary Campground restrictions

St. Mary Lake
St. Mary Lake in Glacier National Park

First fires, now bears. The St. Mary area of Glacier Park has had its problems this summer . . .

It will be hard-sided camping only for now at St. Mary Campground on the east side of Glacier National Park.

Bears in search of berries in the area are “creating a high potential for negative human-bear interactions,” park officials said Friday.

RVs, motorhomes, trailers and hard-sided pop-ups will be allowed in the campground, as will camper vehicles such as Volkswagen buses and pickup trucks with small canvas pop-ups “as long as the canvas is not exposed,” Glacier spokeswoman Katelyn Liming said.

Read more . . .