Study to probe effect of climate change on Yellowstone grizzlies

The less time in the den, the more bears are killed, especially in the fall-

Although grizzlies are now coming out of their dens, quite slowly this year because of deep snow, it may be that recent warm years have delayed the onset of their annual winter hibernation.

Now a study is underway to ascertain the details of den entrance and emergence and compare them to temperature and snowfall.

Autumn is the most dangerous time for the grizzly, doubly so now with the decline in high altitude whitebark pine nut “crop” due to the hot fires of 1988,  the spread of whitebark pine blister rust (a non-native disease) and a general die-off of pines of all species in the Rocky Mountains.

The longer bears are denned up, the fewer are killed during the year.

Study to research effect of climate change on denning. By Karl Puckett. Great Falls Tribune Staff Writer.