The Greater Yellowstone brims with grizzly cubs this year

As posted some weeks ago, this was a fine year for the whitebark pine nuts in the Greater Yellowstone area. So was last year, and one result is a lot of grizzly bear cubs born and survived.

Yellowstone brims with grizzly cubs. By Mike Stark. Billings Gazette.

The article above and Rocky Barker’s blog both briefly discuss the sow with 4 cubs story we have been following most of the summer. Apparently wolves were a factor in the adoption of the cub.

Rocky Barker’s blog: Grizzly mother adopts neighbors’ cubs after wolf chase. By Rocky Barker. Idaho Statesman.



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  1. Monte Avatar

    Perhaps this is a good time to delist the grizzlies. Maybe the loonies will drop their lawsuits. Nah, that’s too much to hope for.

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    The concern about the grizzly does not have to do with their current population, but the fact that all their major food sources are likely to decline in the near future and the USFWS made no provision for that in terms of protective corridors for their migration or including habitat where these food sources are likely to still thrive.

    In addition, they [meaning the DOI] did not seek to reestablish a grizzly population in central Idaho where 300 or so grizzlies could easily fit.

  3. skyrim Avatar

    I do not believe the adoptee Sow had a radio collar as suggested in Barkers piece. My shots of this gang of five sure don’t show it. Anyone else?

  4. skyrim Avatar

    Nope. Mike Burdic’s excellent images here on this site do not show a radio collar. There is undoubtedly some misinformation floating around out there.

  5. SmokyMtMan Avatar


    I would also add to your response that de-listing the Grizzly is really about one thing: exploiting resources that are currently protected by the Grizzly’s endangered status. When the Grizzly is de-listed, there will be many projects (timber extraction, gas and oil exploration, mining) that will be subsequently approved where they are now prohibited.

    After Grizzly de-listing, a sizable percentage of the currently protected habitat will be degraded by resource extraction. Then what? As the food sources of the Grizzly dwindle further, as the habitat of the Grizzly is diminished by permanent alterations from commercial interests, what will happen to the populations of the Grizzly?

    The Grizzly of the GYE suffers from genetic isolation, faces severe changes and shortages of its primary food sources, mortality rates at the hands of human that are too high, and now its habitat protections are about to be lost.

    These factors all combine to make the Grizzly populations very precarious in the future. This is not fear-mongering, but scientific analysis and near-certainty.

  6. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    concerning the abundance of whitebark pine nuts. it’s my experience and observation that any species that is under extreme duress, be it flora or fauna, has an immediate and extreme reaction of self preservation.

  7. Robert Bunch Avatar
    Robert Bunch

    ! was in Yellowstone in Sept. I saw the sow with four cubs on 9/14 near Dunraven pass. On 9/15 I saw and photographed a single cub that appeared to be lost and alone just north of the trailhead at Dunraven pass. Several others including a ranger were there. The next morning 9/16 I saw and photographed a sow with two cubs in the same area as I saw the single cub the day before. Everyone was assuming that the sow was the one with four cubs and that she had lost or become seperated from two of them. Later that same day I saw the sow with the two cubs again. Many people were photographing and watching the bears and as we were watching a third cub came bawling and barreling out of the trees and ran straight to the sow. Everyone assumed this was a reunion of one of the lost cubs with his family. I had to leave the next moring so this was the last time I saw the family. It was really great to see the little cub racing back to his family. I wonder if anyone knows if the fourth cub was ever reunited with the family. I sure hope so.


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