GYE grizzlies are probably not very diverse-

Unlike the wolves, which currently have fine genetic diversity, Greater Yellowstone grizzlies are likely not diverse. Nevertheless, a study is underway to see if any unrecognised interbreeding between GYE bears and those from the north has taken place.

Bears to get study. By Cory Hatch. Jackson Hole News and Guide.

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Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

17 Responses to Genetic study on Greater Yellowstone grizzlies in the works

  1. avatar Jon Way says:

    And with a new Sec of Int maybe bears will be brought back to central Idaho to put in place an intermediate population between Yellowstone and NW MT.

  2. avatar Jeff says:

    This is something I am very hopeful for, they had a great process that Dirk gounded after have all the stakeholder participated in good faith. I’ve always thought they could take a few bears every year that wind up too far south in the GYE or too far east on the Rocky Mountain Front and start dropping them off in the Central Idaho Wilderness Areas. I’m not sure why people would be so scared of 15-30 bears scattered across an enormous landscape.

  3. avatar john weis says:

    Asking a pack of bears to migrate south over a bunch of interstates and other man-made barriers in order to inject some genetic diversity into the lower 48 population, in my opin, pretty self defeating. We would be smarter to be pro-active and take some of those bears off Palin’s hands and drop them into Yellowstone. It would be interesting to study how fast a bear could adjust from salmon to a banquet of elk.

  4. avatar ChrisH says:

    Let’s try to keep this from John McCain. It was hard enough to listen tripe about the last genetic study of the griz.

  5. avatar Jeff says:

    Of all the wasteful spending in our government, it pained me to here McCain so frequently cite the DNA study of MT grizzlies as the most egregious example of wasteful spending…how about the billion dollar Boeing deal that the USAF didn’t want…A few million to study a FEDERALLY protected species makes sense to me.
    On another note, have they ever introduced any grizzlies into the GYE from NW MT?

  6. Jeff,

    Yes. If that was the worst he could find, we’d be in very fine shape.

  7. avatar SAP says:

    I’ve never heard of bears being moved into the GYE from elsewhere.

    John Weis, some grizzly bears are already successfully negotiating I-90 along with assorted other obstacles. Bears have come out of the Blackfoot Valley and ended up near Anaconda, and on the east side of the Bitterroot Valley.

    The challenge, since bears are proving they can get there, is improving their odds of survival once they arrive. That’s a matter of minimizing potential for bear-human conflicts, which is something we ought to be doing anyway — for black bears as well as grizzlies.

    I think geneticists would disagree with the idea of moving Alaska bears into the lower 48. Rocky Mountain grizzlies (from about Jasper NP south) are considered a distinct Evolutionarily Significant Unit, which would be cross-bred out of existence with the importation of Alaska grizzlies or browns (interior or coastal either one).
    See: Waits, L, S Talbot, RH Ward, G Shields (1998) Phylogeography of the North American brown bear and implications for conservation. Conservation Biology 12:408-417.

  8. avatar SAP says:

    I’ve never heard of bears being moved into the GYE from elsewhere.

    John Weis, some grizzly bears are already successfully negotiating I-90 along with assorted other obstacles. Bears have come out of the Blackfoot Valley and ended up near Anaconda, and on the east side of the Bitterroot Valley.

    The challenge, since bears are proving they can get there, is improving their odds of survival once they arrive. That’s a matter of minimizing potential for bear-human conflicts, which is something we ought to be doing anyway — for black bears as well as grizzlies.

    I think geneticists would disagree with the idea of moving Alaska bears into the lower 48. Rocky Mountain grizzlies (from about Jasper NP south) are considered a distinct Evolutionarily Significant Unit, which would be cross-bred out of existence with the importation of Alaska grizzlies or browns (interior or coastal either one).
    See: Waits, L, S Talbot, RH Ward, G Shields (1998) Phylogeography of the North American brown bear and implications for conservation. Conservation Biology 12:408-417.

  9. avatar Jeff says:

    So are the only bears moved within the lower 48 those that are moved from the Glacier Area over to the Cabinet YaK area? What about the Selkirks or North Cascades?

  10. Jeff,

    The answer is yes – – only the Cabinet-Yaak.

    I think it has been moderately successful, although this ecosystem is so small, I doubt the grizzlies could ever be delisted.

  11. avatar jburnham says:

    This makes me wonder about re-introduction in the Bitterroots. As I recall, interior shut it down for “budget reasons”. Will this even be on the Obama Administration’s radar? Is anyone still pushing for this?

  12. jburnham,

    Restoration of grizzly bears into central Idaho was all set to go, but Dubya was elected.

    Idaho’s governor Dirk Kempthorne (now secretary of interior) had a visceral negative reaction to the plan (he almost seemed personally afraid, IMO). He contacted the new secretary of interior, Gale Norton, and she killed the reintroduction.

    It could be started up again under the new Administration.

  13. avatar john weis says:

    SAP, you said: “”Rocky Mountain grizzlies (from about Jasper NP south) are considered a distinct Evolutionarily Significant Unit, which would be cross-bred out of existence with the importation of Alaska grizzlies or browns (interior or coastal either one).””

    I was just kind of joking about getting Palin’s bears in the lower 48 before she could make a another sofa rug out of them, but this is an interesting thought you bring up. Based upon the kind of geographical spread that these types of animals could have pre-white man invasion with open corridors from the heart of Alaska to the mountains of New Mexico, do the geneticists really think there was NOT mixing between the two sub-species? I am not talking about a wholesale invasion but the solitary animal looking for open range, a mate, and Disneyland.

  14. miensa,

    Thank you for this link to the paper on grizzly augmentation in the Cabinet-Yaak.

    I am enjoying reading it.

  15. avatar miensa says:

    You are welcome. It’s good stuff.
    Thank you muchly for this site.

  16. avatar miensa says:

    Here is the survey they did in the areas where they planned to introduce bears. The comments at the bottom are interesting. In some respect I think the survey results were obvious. IMO implementing educational projects throughout this region was a no brainer. IMO people who aren’t frequently dealing with bears tend to think in tunnel vision. Myself included on occassion and I am working on that. One person commented on how he did not want non native bears in his backyard, but before it was his backyard these bears roamed freely and genetic diversity was the norm. All bears are his backyard’s native bears. They were worried about problem bears being hauled over but these bears that are introduced have no “prior convictions”. I suppose the survey allows them to see which things are top priority.

    http://www.igbconline.org/Cabinet_Yaak_Survey_Final_101708.pdf

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

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