Grizzly and black bear study continues in YNP

cubs on a stroll
Black bear cubs strolling on a log above a creek in Yellowstone National Park.

YNP News Service

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK—Biologists with the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team (IGBST) and Yellowstone National Park (YNP) will be conducting grizzly and black bear research in Yellowstone National Park through October 31, as part of the monitoring of population of grizzly bears within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE).

Team members bait bears at several remote sites within YNP and once trapped the bears are anesthetized so biologists can fit them with radio-collar and collect scientific samples. All trapping and handling is done in accordance with IGBST’s long-established protocols.

A grizzly bear study is underway in the park and backcountry visitors are warned to be aware of an bear activity.
A grizzly bear study is underway in the park and backcountry visitors are warned to be aware of an bear activity. YNP photo.

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 warnings posted for the closed area. Potential access points will also have warning signs for the closed area. Backcountry users who come upon any of these posted areas should stay out.

Established in 1973 to collaboratively manage bears, the IGBST the gathers critical data as part of a long-term effort required under the Endangered Species Act to help wildlife managers create programs to support the recovery of Yellowstone’s grizzly bear population.

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

The estimated GYE grizzly bear population increased from 136 in 1975 to 593 in 2011, and the bears have expanded their habitat by more than 50 percent.

Bears are solitary, although they may tolerate other bears when food is plentiful and adult male bears dominate the best habitats and food sources, generally followed by mature females with cubs then by other single adult bears.

Sub-adult bears, who are just learning to live on their own are most likely to be in poor-quality habitat or in areas near roads and developments making young bears vulnerable to danger from humans and other bears.

Bears spend most of their time feeding, especially during in autumn when they may put on more than three pounds a day until they enter their dens to hibernate. White bark pine nuts are the most important bear food when available.

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