Greater Yellowstone grizzly sow deaths close to upper limit

While it’s too soon to blame this on state management, the first year of state-run Greater Yellowstone grizzly management has seen too many deaths of grizzly sows, a very important parameter in keeping the delisted bear population from a relisting.

Story in the Jackson Hole News and Guide. Grizzly sow deaths close to upper limit. Though the population is thriving, a key indicator worries biologists. By Cory Hatch.



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  1. Ray Avatar

    Thriving? 500 something bears in the Yellowstone area can’t really be described as “thriving”, at least not after this year’s mortalities. USFWS has been too quick to change the status of Yellowstone grizzly. Whitebark crops are only going to fail more often as climate changes, with more years like this one to come…

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Last weekend I learned from folks in Wyoming who spend a lot of time ourdoors that there has been almost 100% mortality of whitebark pine between Togwotee Pass and Union Pass to the south.

    This area had become one of the most important grizzly bear areas south of the Park.

    It was the mountain pine bark beetle. It killed the lodgepole pine too . . . yet another place where there is going to be a landscape changing forest fire.

  3. TallTrent Avatar

    At least the criteria to relist the grizzly on the Endangered Species List exists. 500-600 grizzly bears might not seem like a thriving population, but even with these sow deaths the numbers or grizzlies in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem does seem to be growing. The real question is “what is the carrying capacity for grizzlies in the GYE?”

    What’s even more important is getting out good information on preventing bear-human conflicts. Bears die because of carelessness and callousness of human beings. We need good education and we need good legislation. West Yellowstone, Montana has a good city ordinance on bear attractants and more communities need to get these laws in place and enforce them.


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