Grizzly Bear Research Resuming In Glacier, Yellowstone National Parks

Studies into the numbers and behaviors of grizzly bears in Yellowstone and Glacier national parks are resuming. NPS photo.

With grizzly bears out of their winter dens, long-term studies of the bruins are resuming in Glacier and Yellowstone national parks.

At Glacier in northern Montana, the study aims to monitor grizzly bear population trends in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem. Bait stations, automated cameras, and traps are used to capture and monitor grizzly bears within the park. Bait stations and trap sites are marked with brightly colored warning and closure signs. Park visitors are asked to respect posted signs and not enter sites where grizzly bear traps or bait stations are present.

Glacier National Park wildlife biologists attempt to maintain a sample of up to 10 radio-collared female grizzly bears out of an estimated population of 300 grizzly bears living in the park. Trapping efforts will continue through October at various locations throughout Glacier National Park.

The interagency grizzly bear monitoring program began in 2004 and is led by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. Participating agencies include: National Park Service, United States Forest Service, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, and the Blackfeet Nation.

In Yellowstone, biologists with the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team will be conducting scientific grizzly bear research operations in the park from June 3 through July 15 as part of the ongoing monitoring of the activities and population of grizzly bears within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

Team members will bait and trap bears at several remote sites within Yellowstone. Once trapped, the bears are anesthetized to allow wildlife biologists to radio-collar and collect scientific samples for study. All trapping and handling are done in accordance with IGBST’s long established protocols.

None of the trap sites in the park will be located near any established hiking trails or backcountry campsites, and all trap sites will have posted warnings for the closure perimeter. Potential access points will also be posted with warning signs for the closure area. Backcountry users who come upon any of these posted areas need to heed the warnings and stay out of the area.

The Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team was established in 1973 to collaboratively monitor and manage ecosystem bears on an interagency basis. The gathering of critical data on the protected bears is part of a long-term research effort required under the Endangered Species Act to help wildlife managers devise and implement programs to support the ongoing recovery of Yellowstone’s grizzly bear population.

The IGBST is composed of representatives of the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribal Fish and Game Department, and the states of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.

For more information regarding grizzly bear research efforts call (406) 994-6675.