Center has become important tool for teaching about wolves and grizzlies-

Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone opens new River Valley Wolf Habitat. West Yellowstone News.

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About The Author

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.

13 Responses to West Yellowstone: Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center opens new River Valley Wolf Habitat

  1. avatar vickif says:

    I have been taking my kids to YNP for 13 years. We make a point of staying atleast one day in West Yellowstone just so they can hang out at the Discovery Center. They learn something new every year. Even my oldest, 20 years old in fact, still loves to go.
    It is a sure thing, and enables people to see wolves an bears, even when they have missed out in the nat’l park.
    It provides chances for kids to become aquainted with how animals behave, without endangering them. It builds a sense of worth in the children’s minds…and that sticks for a lifetime.
    Thanks to the center, for giving future generations a life long value for predators.

  2. avatar Salle says:

    The enclosure was made possible through a land swap from the forest service and is quite large. It’s been a long time coming for the wolves at the facility. It was, at first, just meant for grizzly bears but somehow they ended up with wolves too. They had to make room for them and then as time went on it was quite clear that something had to be done to expand the area for the wolves.

    I have spoken with the education directors and they do a lot of research on a daily basis to keep up with all the latest information. I was told that they use this site and many others to gather information. It’s rather impressive. I know that the information is not sugar-coated, they discuss the political issues as well as the biological and behavioral issues.

  3. avatar Salle says:

    The enclosure was made possible through a land swap from the forest service and is quite large. It’s been a long time coming for the wolves at the facility. It was, at first, just meant for grizzly bears but somehow they ended up with wolves too. They had to make room for them and then as time went on it was quite clear that something had to be done to expand the area for the wolves.

    I have spoken with the education directors and they do a lot of research on a daily basis to keep up with all the latest information. I was told that they use this site and many others to gather information. It’s rather impressive. I know that the information is not sugar-coated, they discuss the political issues as well as the biological and behavioral issues.

  4. avatar vickif says:

    The things they show people as it pertains to grizzlies is very invaluable. They show exactly how destrucitve bears can be to campers/sites. It makes a definite impression. They also show kids how well the bear’s nose works, so they learn how to avoid attracting bears with scents.

    They do talk about how each animal came to live there, and most of them have had bad behavior in human areas. I am not as sure on the wolves (I think some were born in captivity-but may be wrong), but the bears have stories of trash eating, threatening interaction with humans, etc.

    If the center ca make such head way and find creative solutions with land swapping, surely we can figure something out for bison, wolves, bears, etc. We could take a lesson from this resourceful collaboration.

  5. avatar Chuck says:

    Do the grizzly bear hybernate there while in captivity??
    I have wanted to stop in there every time I have been over there, am hoping for a trip in December for an anniversary vacation. I could set and watch grizzly bear and wolves for hours.

  6. avatar vickif says:

    NO, I don’t think they do Chuck.
    Happy Anniversary. The funds for admission are all spenton the center-non-profit(I believe).

  7. avatar Barb says:

    Did someone on this blog recently post a website that had a great photo of a black fox? I am trying to find out where I saw that photo and who the photographer is. Thanks!

  8. avatar Salle says:

    Well,

    I do know these facts about the G&WDC:

    They are nonprofit, weren’t originally but have been for several years now.

    They are endorsed by notable animal societies like the American Zooligical Society ~ (gosh, I hope that’s the right name!!).

    The bears at this facility do not hibernate ~ if they have a constant source of food, they won’t hibernate. Not all the wild bear in the area do either!

    Bear-proof trash receptacles are tested there.

    Most of the wolves were bred in captivity but there are some, at least two in the new pack, that have been taken in as orphans.

    And yes, the information they impart to the millions of visitors each year is very important to the survival of bears and wolves and helps to inform the public of their place in a healthy ecosystem.

    The facility is open year-round, there are hands-on activities for children and daily feature programs for all.

    And everything that vickif said…

    I encourage everyone to visit this place as they have worked very hard to make this place what it is, a credible public education facility.

    The Wolf Recovery Foundation also supports them and their efforts even though these animals are captive.

  9. avatar IzabelaM says:

    Great news.
    I have been supporting them for a long time. Some of my pictures of wolves in captivilty are from there.
    (Not for sale- hobby).

    Thank you

  10. avatar Jack Bean says:

    Ralph

    How would we go about getting a couple of “Web Cams” set up in these two facilities to allow many thousands of people to enjoy the new facility as well as the old one?

    Jack Bean

  11. avatar Salle says:

    Jack,

    I would recommend contacting the center and letting them know of your idea. They might be open to it. If you know how to acquire and set up such a system, I would mention that as well.

    (West Yellowstone has no mail delivery so if you mail anything, use the P.O. Box address.)

    Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center
    201 South Canyon
    West Yellowstone, MT 59758
    Mailing address:
    P.O. Box 996
    West Yellowstone, MT 59758
    Fax: 406 646-7004
    Phone: 406 646-7001 or 800 257-2570
    Email info@grizzlydiscoveryctr.com

  12. avatar Peter Kiermeir says:

    Does this mean they have the bears and wolves together now? Their bear hill was (is) not extraordinary large and the old wolf pen was really small. Joining wolves and bears in a large habitat with opportunities to retreat keeps both alert and busy! The best cure against boredom.

  13. avatar Salle says:

    Peter,

    The two species are not intermingled in the enclosures.

    I suspect that the rationale would be that the competitive element is of concern when you have two top predators in a closed environment, there is too much opportunity for conflict. The two packs are kept separate as well, the original plan was to have a dual enclosure with divided underground tunnels through which they are periodically transferred from one enclosure to the other giving them more area to inhabit as well as the opportunity to become aware of another pack in their locale. In confinement, that is a pretty good plan to accommodate the nature of these wolves. the bears have a similar situation where they are periodically “switched” from the underground to the surface so that they all have equal time in the open space.

    I haven’t been there to observe yet but plan to journey there soon. I imagine that the bears’ enclosure will be reconfigured to reclaim the old wolf enclosure to expand that outdoor opportunity for the bears.

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