More grizzlies than thought in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem

Grizzly feeding on elk © Ken Cole

The grizzly bear DNA study that Senator John McCain often ridiculed out of ignorance has shown that there are many more grizzly bears in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem than previously estimated. The technique is effective enough that individual bears can be recognized and the parentage of the bears can also be determined.

The researchers estimate that there are about 765 grizzlies in the area which is 2 1/2 times higher than previously thought.

Industry groups like this information because they want grizzlies to be taken off the Endangered Species List. They are hoping for eased restrictions on logging, mining and other activities.

Hair rub technique appears to yield cheaper, more accurate data on grizzlies.
Juliet Eilperin – Washington Post

About The Author

Ken Cole

Ken Cole is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is the interim Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project. We do not accept unsolicited “guest” authors or advertising.

6 Responses to Hair rub technique appears to yield cheaper, more accurate data on grizzlies

  1. Virginia says:

    Cody G&F warns in the Cody Enterprise that dry conditions this year will be bad for bears. Snowpack here is 68% of normal and of course, the white bark pine trees probably won’t be as productive as last year. So, yeah, let’s delist the bear since they are having such an easy time surviving in these drought years.

  2. V.C. Wald says:

    Quick-and-dirty question (I promise to read the whole article later): How do they know the hair is fresh? In other words, doesn’t hair persist, potentially over a span of years, such that the animal that left it could be deceased? In other words, how do they validate that they have identified the hair of a living (or likely living) animal?

  3. Jon Way says:

    VC, b.c the animal actually walks up and rubs on the hair and I imagine they just calculate each estimate for a given year…

  4. jburnham says:

    V.C., they usually put a strand of barbed wire and some smell out to attract bears, then they remove the setup when the study is done. This way they are getting hair left only during the study period.

  5. Save bears says:

    I worked with Kate on part of her study, we placed the hair snag for a specific period of time, collected the hair, and removed the snag, so we prevented what your describing..

  6. V.C. Wald says:

    Thanks very much, everyone, for the information on bear hair collection technique!


April 2010


‎"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