Tag Archives: Yellowstone National Park

Tester bill wants ban on mining near Yellowstone

Yellowstone National Park sign at the North Entrance - Jim Peaco, NPS, October 1992
Yellowstone National Park sign at the North Entrance

Sen. Jon Tester wants to firm up the ban on mining leases on public lands near Yellowstone National Park . . .

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester has introduced legislation to permanently ban new mining in an area of Montana just outside Yellowstone National Park.

The Montana Democrat says responsible natural resource development is an important part of Montana’s economy but the doorstep of Yellowstone is one place that should be protected.

Tester’s proposal would withdraw federal mineral rights on some 30,000 acres of public land in the Custer Gallatin National Forest just north of Yellowstone.

Read more . . .

New study reveals more about Yellowstone cougars

Cougars in Yellowstone National Park - Dan Stahler, NPS
Cougars in Yellowstone National Park – Dan Stahler, NPS

Here’s a pretty interesting article about Yellowstone National Park’s cougar population . . .

Through DNA analysis of scat and hair, along with photographs and specially equipped GPS collars, researchers in Yellowstone National Park are acquiring new information about the Northern Region’s secretive cougars.

“Because cats aren’t seen or heard much, they’re kind of out of sight, out of mind,” said Dan Stahler, Cougar Project manager.

“We’re trying to change the dialogue and get the public to understand this is a multi-predator ecosystem,” he added. “There’s another top predator that also plays an important role here.”

Read more . . .

Grizzly carcass-stealing doesn’t mean wolves kill more

In Yellowstone National Park, hungry wolves wait to access their elk kill as grizzly bears feast on the spoils - Daniel Stahler, NPS
In Yellowstone National Park, hungry wolves wait to access their elk kill as grizzly bears feast on the spoils – Daniel Stahler, NPS

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.”

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Park Service wants grizzly hunting ban in corridor between Yellowstone, Grand Teton

John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway location
John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway location

This seems quite sensible, but will no doubt trigger considerable head-butting. (Kudos to Bill Fordyce for spotting this.) . . .

The National Park Service said Tuesday there should be no hunting of grizzly bears in the 24,000-acre John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway between Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks.

The parkway should be “identified” as a national park unit where grizzly hunting is prohibited, Park Service regional director Sue Masica said in a memo to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The parkway is owned and managed by the Park Service, but hunting is allowed. Additionally, any hunting program in the ecosystem should limit the likelihood that “well-known or transboundary bears will be harvested,” Masica wrote.

Her comments were in response to a proposed Fish and Wildlife Service plan to remove federal protection from the Yellowstone grizzly. That delisting action is expected to be completed by the end of this year and would open the door for Wyoming, Idaho and Montana to institute hunts. The deadline for submitting comments on the delisting plan was Tuesday.

Read more . . .

‘Twenty-five grizzly bears a year die in Yellowstone Park, but this one had a name’

Grizzly bear sow with three cubs

Here’s an interesting article that picks up social media’s impact on bear management and runs with it . . .

When a grizzly bear killed a hiker in Yellowstone National Park last year, millions of people took it personally.

“The public response was 100 percent different than two years ago,” said Kerry Gunther, Yellowstone’s bear manager. “Twenty-five grizzly bears a year die in Yellowstone Park, but this one had a name.”

Her name was Blaze, according to the outpouring of outrage on Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets that appeared within a day of the Aug. 11 incident. Gunther and other park officials still aren’t sure it was that particular, often-photographed sow with two cubs (there were four such females with two cubs in the area). But they are sure their decisions, and all future debate about managing grizzly bears in the Rocky Mountain West, are under a new level of scrutiny.

Read more . . .

Cameras, video give new insights into bear behavior

Grizzly bear sow with three cubs

Bear bathtubs? Who knew? . . .

It takes a hike over high ridges and numerous toppled lodgepole pine trees to find the small pool of fresh water in Yellowstone National Park.

This is not some out-of-the-way hot springs that adventurous tourists seek out to soak in. Instead, the well-worn trails marked by tracks leading to the site attest to its use as a “bear bathtub.”

The first of these pools was discovered more than a decade ago by Yellowstone bear researchers as they searched for a tracking collar that had fallen off one of the bears they were studying, according to an article in the recently released issue of the journal Yellowstone Science. The signal sent by the collar led them to the small pond at the end of a narrow gully surrounded by forested hills, according to the article’s lead author, Kerry Gunther, Yellowstone’s bear manager.

Read more . . .

Montana governor allows bison to roam outside Yellowstone

Close up of bison grazing

Well, the guy’s last name is “Bullock” after all . . .

Wild bison will be allowed to migrate out of Yellowstone National Park and stay in parts of Montana year-round under a Tuesday move by Gov. Steve Bullock that breaks a longstanding impasse in a wildlife conflict that’s dragged on for decades.

The Democratic governor’s decision likely won’t end the periodic slaughters of some bison that roam outside Yellowstone in search of food at lower elevations. But it for the first time allows hundreds of the animals to linger year-round on an estimated 400 square miles north and west of the park.

The move has been eagerly sought by wildlife advocates — and steadfastly opposed by livestock interests. Ranchers around Yellowstone are wary of a disease carried by many bison and the increased competition the animals pose for limited grazing space.

Read more . . .

Trapping restrictions imposed near Glacier & Yellowstone to aid lynx

Trapping regulations have been tightened up around Glacier and Yellowstone national parks to avoid accidental lynx capture . . .

Montana wildlife officials have tightened trapping regulations outside Yellowstone and Glacier national parks to reduce the chances that threatened Canada lynx accidentally will be caught.

The changes include restrictions on the types of traps, snares and bait that can be used in special protection zones outside the parks

State wildlife commissioners approved the changes on a 3-1 vote Thursday. Commissioner Gary Wolfe of Missoula cast the dissenting vote, Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesman Ron Aasheim said.

Read more . . .

Montana looking at tighter trapping restrictions near Glacier and Yellowstone

Montana FWP wants to tighten trapping rules near national parks to protect Canada Lynx . . .

Montana wildlife officials are considering stricter regulations in an effort to reduce the chances of Canada lynx being caught in traps set for other animals outside Glacier and Yellowstone national parks.

The plan presented to the state Fish and Wildlife Commission on Thursday is part of a settlement agreement in a lawsuit filed in 2013 by three environmental groups over trapping in the threatened species’ habitat.

Several of the settlement’s statewide restrictions are already in place, but additional changes are needed in special zones near Yellowstone National Park and a wider area outside Glacier National Park in northwestern Montana, Fish, Wildlife and Parks attorney Aimee Fausser said.

Read more . . .

Talk by grizzly expert Steve Primm this Thursday

MWA and the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation are holding the second in their Winter Speaker Series this Thursday. Grizzly expert Steve Primm will share his experiences working on grizzly and wolf recovery around Yellowstone National Park.

Here are the details from their announcement . . .

Thursday, March 5, 2015
7:00-8:30  p.m.
Flathead Valley Community College
Arts & Technology Building, Room 13

777 Grandview Dr, Kalispell

Discover how Steve’s innovative work near Yellowstone and his inspiring ideas connect to wildlife and human populations around Glacier National Park and the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Steve is founder and director of People and Carnivores, a nonprofit organization in southwest Montana that focuses on building a future for large carnivores through cooperation with the people who live with them.

Sponsored by MWA’s Flathead-Kootenai Chapter and the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation, the Winter Speaker Series is free and open to the public.