Carelessness and two grizzly bears dead near Ronan, MT

Unprotected chicken coops becoming a source of  bears deaths on Flathead Reservation-

Two grizzlies were shot dead last weekend near the base of the bear-heavy Mission Mountains in NW Montana.

An elk antler gatherer stumbled into a griz on the Blackfoot-Clearwater Wildlife area and shot the bear. Not far away on the Flathead Indian Reservation a grizzly bear was shot near a chicken coop. Raising chickens in unprotected pens and sheds is a rapidly growing economic activity on the reservation.

These dead bears were number 3 and 4 for the year in general area.

Grizzlies killed on Flathead Reservation, at Blackfoot-Clearwater Wildlife Management Area. By Rob Chaney and Vince Devlin of the Missoulian

Colorado bans hunting of denned bears

Outrage from killing 703-pound denned bear sparks new regulation-

Last November Richard Kendall of Craig shot a black bear that was a state record, but the bear was in its den. A lot of folks didn’t like they way he got the record bear. As a result, the Colorado Wildlife Commission unanimously approved a new rule last week to restore fair chase by banning hunting or harassment of black bears in their dens.

Colorado officials unanimously approve regulation banning the hunting of denned bears. LA Times.

Yellowstone bears and wolves fight over carcasses

Their ancient struggle apparently has little effect on their populations-

That’s the conclusion of Dr. Doug Smith who heads the Park’s wolf program.

I think that might well be true overall, but Yellowstone Park is a small place when it comes to major predators.  With the wolf population in the Park as small as it now is, random fluctuations of predatory effects might, in my opinion, have an important effect on the wolves as far as the Park alone is concerned. . . RM

Bears butting in on Yellowstone wolf kills. Battle of carnivores ultimately has little effect on population. By Cory Hatch. Jackson Hole News and Guide.

Pacific salmon run helps shape Canada’s ecosystems

Predators help disperse salmon, nutrient on streambanks

This article describes the results of a study suggesting another “trophic cascade” mechanism by which predators and salmon interact, enriching the diversity of plant-life in the world’s largest old-growth temperate rainforest:

Pacific salmon run helps shape Canada’s ecosystemsBBC News

The annual migration sees salmon return to western Canada to spawn, but many are caught by bears and wolves, which carry carcasses away from the streams.

This allows nutrient-rich plants to thrive in these areas.

Grizzly’s threatened status heard before Ninth Circuit

Grizzly’s threatened status appealed in 9th Circuit court. Washington Post

Update added on March 14: Audio of hearing before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

I listened to most of this. The government attorney seemed to perform weakly in response to questions, IMO. I didn’t think the National Wildlife Federation did well intervening on behalf of the government. They made a political rather than a legal or scientific argument.  RM

Northern Range Yellowstone elk count drops to record low in latest count

Latest  is 4,635 elk, count is down 24 percent from 6,070 last winter-
Wolf population was over 100, 5 years ago; now down to 37-*

Update. Leader of the Yellowstone wolf team, Dr. Doug Smith talks about the elk situation on Montana Public Radio News. Note that it is not the first story in the “evening news.”

News Release from the
Northern Yellowstone Cooperative Wildlife Working Group 

Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, & Parks – Contact:  Karen Loveless
406-224-1162
National Park Service – Contact:  Doug Smith 307-344-2242
U.S. Forest Service – Contact: Dan Tyers 406-848-7375
U.S. Geological Survey – Contact:  Paul Cross 406-994-6908

January 12, 2011

Winter Count Shows Decline In Northern Elk Herd Population
———————————————————-

Wildlife biologists say increased predation, ongoing drought, and hunting
pressure all contributed to a decline in the northern Yellowstone elk
population from 1995 to 2010.

The annual aerial survey of the herd conducted during December 2010
resulted in a count of 4,635 elk, down 24 percent from the 6,070 reported
the previous year. There has been about a 70 percent drop in the size of
the northern elk herd from the 16,791 elk counted in 1995 and the start of
wolf restoration to Yellowstone National Park.

Northern coast of Greenland, some far north islands in Canada to be only home for polar bears

Last ditch location of polar bears is predicted-

As arctic ice continues to melt, scientists have predicted where last few polar bears will make their last stand.

Where Polar Bears Might Go If Climate Change Doesn’t Slow. By Pete Spotts. Christian Science Monitor/ABC News