Bear gals and guys more attractive on the other side of the road?

Now that many wildlife crossings are in place in Canadian national parks of the Rockies (Banff especially), it is clear that they are benefiting grizzly and black bears. They not only prevent them from being killed on the Trans-Canada Highway, they facilitate mating. After making a crossing, the bears are significantly more likely to mate with the bears on the other side of the Highway than with those back “home.”

The study was done by researchers at Montana State University. It was a “first.” They gathered 10,000 hair samples from black bears and grizzlies and tracked the genetic flow. Grizzly bears were as likely to use the structures as black bears once the grizzly became familiar with it. Making a crossing has the indirect effect of preventing inbreeding.

Story from Montana State University. MSU study proves that wildlife crossing structures promote ‘gene flow’ in Banff bears. MSU News Service.

About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan's Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of "Hiking Idaho." He also wrote "Beyond the Tetons" and "Backpacking Wyoming's Teton and Washakie Wilderness." He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

5 Responses to Human-made wildlife crossings promote bear mating

  1. Nancy says:

    The short video (to the right of the article) is very cool 🙂

  2. Mark L says:

    Nice to know the ‘Coolidge effect’ is still working.

  3. Melody Scamman says:

    Ralph, thank you for some good news! It just goes to show that animals are smarter than most folks think they are!

  4. Monty says:

    Ralph: are all of the crossings overpasses or some culverts? Are you aware of similar wildlife crossing in the US? Good news about wildlife is always good news.

  5. Monty says:

    I have some good wildlife news about our neighbor to the south: Mexico. It’s called the Big Bend-Rio Bravo International park, all 3.3 million acres: 1.3 million acres of protected area on the US side of the Rio Grand and 2 million aces in Mexico. I know this is a little off topic but its good news for wildlife. Look it up!


February 2014


‎"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."

~ Edward Abbey

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