Greater Yellowstone grizzlies said to be doing well this year.

Mark Haroldson, Wildlife Biologist for the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team at the USGS Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center was quoted by Idaho Fish and Game reporting the following reproduction and motatility statistics:

As of September 1, 2006, 8 human-caused grizzly bear mortalities have been documented in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. These losses resulted from 2 road kills, 1 mistaken identity kill, 1 management removal, and 4 that are under investigation. Six of the documented mortalities to date were male bears; 2 were females. In addition, a skull was found from a bear that likely died during the fall of 2003. Cause of death could not be determined.

Preliminary numbers this year indicate at least 46 unique females with cubs of the year. Haroldson stated “this year’s high count of females was expected after last years lower than normal count of 31. This was likely due to more females available for breeding during 2005 and a relatively good pine nut crop that fall.” Haroldson went on to say that “overall, in addition to whitebark pine, we have had a good food year with abundant biscuit root, yampa, clover, and berries, plus very few bear-human conflicts.”






  1. Elizabeth Laden Avatar


    Rangers in Yellowstone National Park are watching two grizzly bears to see if they become aggressive after getting human food over the weekend.
    The sow and cub were foraging along the East Entrance Road near Sylvan Pass on Sunday, creating a large bear jam. The pair is often seen and photographed by visitors, and a have lost much of their fear of people.
    While walking past the Eleanor Lake Picnic Area, the bears apparently smelled food. The family eating at the picnic table left the food out rather than put it safely away inside their vehicle. Visitors then took pictures of the bears while they ate the food off the table.
    The Eleanor Lake Picnic Area is temporarily closed. If the bears return to the area seeking food, they will be hazed with cracker shells or bean bag rounds.
    Once bears get human food or garbage, they usually become aggressive in their efforts to get it again. This can result in property damage or even injury to people. When bears become a threat to human safety, they may have to be captured and euthanized.
    “Breeding age females are especially critical to maintaining a viable grizzly bear population,” said park bear management biologist Kerry Gunther. “The potential loss of this mother and cub from the ecosystem due to inappropriate human behavior would be a real tragedy.”
    Park regulations require people to stay a hundred yards – the length of a football field – away from black and grizzly bears at all times. Visitors are also reminded to keep food, garbage, barbecue grills and other attractants stored in hard sided vehicles or bear-proof food storage boxes. This helps keep bears from becoming conditioned to human foods, and helps keep park visitors and their property safe.
    Bear sightings should be reported to the nearest visitor center or ranger station as soon as possible.

    Thank you for this contributed story from the Island Park News. 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.

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Ralph Maughan