Greater Yellowstone grizzly numbers top 600 for first time

Record population is reached amidst a year of bear food stress and many mortalities-

This is a replacement of the original article (it’s more complete). Grizzly numbers hit new high in Yellowstone region. By Matthew Brown. AP

Because of the late spring, just average berry crop, and failure of the whitebark pine nut crop (there will be no more successes), the record number of grizzlies (603) have been very hungry and have come into lots of contact with humans. The death toll of grizzlies is getting close to 50 just before hibernation.

Latest: Hunter shoots grizzly in the South Fork Shoshone. Wyoming Bureau, Billings Gazette

Here are the details on grizzly mortality (up to number 47). 2010 Known and Probable Grizzly Bear Mortalities in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center (NOROCK). USGS.

Here is the sorry news on Whitebark Pine nut production.

Bitterroot: Where have all the elk gone?

Elk pop. of West Fork of Bitterroot has dropped 21 % in four years. Wolves live there too. Therefore wolves must be responsible?

This seems to be the current argument of Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks. They used to have other explanations.  More properly this new logic would be one hypothesis (one of a number of possible explanations*). They want the federal government to give authority to kill 12 wolves. If granted, would this be a good test of the hypothesis?

Story on the issue: Bitterroot: Where have all the elk gone? by Alex Sakariassen. Missoula Independent

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*Of course, there are the ideologically driven. They don’t need a test. Wolves did it. They always do.