Wolves may return to Eastern Washington state

This article in the Olympian says Wolf population growing in Eastern Washington. By Chester Allen. The Olympian. That is an exaggeration, but wolves could show up at any time and Washington state is developing a wolf management plan.

Return of the Bubbleheads

This blog about the approval of a new Yellowstone snowmobile plan. It is in the Western Watersheds blog.

Although there is the perception of strong support for snowmobiles in West Yellowstone, there is actually less than meets the eye. Yes, it provides a lot of winter employment, but many people perceive their presence might be preventing quieter winter visits; and in fact, the town is diversifying. Hopefully, this new plan will not really ramp up the number snowmobiles again and kill off the new initiatives people are undertaking in West Yellowstone.

Posted in Motor vehicles wildlife, national parks. Comments Off on Return of the Bubbleheads

Grizzlies no safer than average bears.

“Grizzlies no safer than average bears: The Yellowstone park population is coming off the endangered list and might be hunted again.” By Bettina Boxall. Los Angeles Times Staff WriterThis story is about the delisting controversy too.

A thing I should point out is that while in principle and probably in actuality, there will be some limited grizzly bear hunting. Hunting ought not to be the problem with the delisting unless Wyoming goes nuts like they have on wolves. The problem is the secure protection of grizzly habitat.

I do worry that Wyoming will want not just have a hunt, but one to significantly reduce the grizzly population; but the long term problem is habitat loss with the dying off of the whitebark pine, the spread of whirling disease in trout, the decline of cutthroat trout in Yellowstone Lake because of lake trout, and potential threats to the army cutworm moths that provide an incredible amount of grizzly bear nutrition at very safe high attitude sites every summer. Of course too, the gas drillers are waiting to move in and the ATV riders are hoping to open up places to ride in the middle of prime grizzly bear habitat . . . . if only ATVs were edible, a lot of problems would be solved 😉

Grizzlies faced with loss of food potentially could do just fine if people let them eat their livestock, rummage their orchards and gardens, and raid their refrigerators, but that’s not going to be allowed.

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Related. Here is a story from back in 2006, that the Idaho Statesman recently re-ran. The life of grizzly bear 346. By Rocky Barker – Idaho Statesman

Posted in Bears. 22 Comments »

Conservation groups send USFWS 60-day notice to sue over Yellowstone grizzly delisting

Unless they reverse the delisting of the greater Yellowstone grizzly population, 8 conservation groups have told the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service they will be sued.

Although the grizzly bear population of the area has no doubt doubled since they were “listed” as “threatened’ in the 1970s soon after the Endangered Species Act was passed, the grizzly population increase was mostly done by “picking low-hanging fruit.” The things needed for real grizzly bear conservation, such as securing enough future habitat and the failure to recognize that every future trend points downward, has prompted this 60-day notice to sue.

Here is the story by Matthew Brown of the Associated Press.  Groups plan grizzly lawsuit

Much-debated stream access bill in Montana is tabled

Much like the proposals to regulate or eliminate elk shooting enclosures in Idaho, which had much public support, but were defeated anyway, efforts in Montana to secure the right to access the streams of the state, which belong to the people, has been killed in the Montana legislature.

Much-debated stream access bill tabled. By Charles S. Johnson. Billings Gazette State Bureau

Experts say Yellowstone area grizzlies could suffer from inbreeding

Experts say grizzlies could suffer. Some biologists worry that bears aren’t genetically diverse enough for delisting. By Cory Hatch. Jackson Hole News and Guide.

This has been known for quite a while. The solution seems simple to me, although the anti-introduction extremists who now dominate the Dept. of Interior, and the grizzly bear purists, won’t like the answer. Bring in female bears from British Columbia at the rate or one or two a year, for a decade. There is a plan to truck down a grizzly from Glacier NP every decade or so , but the Glacier bears are not sufficiently different genetically from the Yellowstone bears. One per decade won’t solve the problem for a hundred years or more, and the livelihood of mortality of one new bear not familiar with the area is very high before she mates, bears and rears cubs.