Death of whitebark pine results record number of WY grizzly captures this year

Hungry grizzlies at lower elevations, find livestock, along with natural food-

Although federal grizzly bear managers have been sanguine about the the death of whitebark pine in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem, the effect on the grizzlies is obvious in Wyoming. They have come down from the subalpine where the whitebark pine will never again have a good year. As federal bear managers predicted, the grizzlies have found food at lower elevations. They love bluegrass, but the trouble is cows are often standing in it.

Wyoming grizzly captures on record pace this year. Bears might be coming to lower elevations in search of food. By Cory Hatch, Jackson Hole, Wyo.

Cory Hatch’s story makes the low elevation grizzly’s presence sound like a puzzle, but I changed the head because the cause is obvious.

Sept. 9, 2010. Related. Grizzly bear trapped near Cody, moved. Billings Gazette.

Phosphate mining and our hope for change

Phosphate mining, its jobs, and its environmental impact are big things in SE Idaho-

A lot of the folks I talked with today spontaneously and favorably brought up this article by Marv Hoyt, Idaho Representative for the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. It appeared in the Pocatello, Idaho newspaper. March 24, 2010.

Phosphate Mining and Our Hope for Change. By Marv Hoyt. Idaho State Journal.

State and federal bear offcials to meet and discuss Molloy’s ruling adding griz back to list

Meeting on how to respond to the relisting of Yellowstone area griz set for Oct. 28-9-

Hopefully they will do more than complain and say the judge was wrong.

Story. Associated Press.

Greater Yellowstone Grizzly Bear MOU between Montana, Idaho and Wyoming

Very important. You can comment until August 12-

Send your comments to Attn: Wildlife
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks
POB 200701
Helena MT 59620-0701
fwpwld@mt.gov

This MOU paves the way for sport hunting of grizzly bears in this large delisted population. This splits the “discretionary” mortality (surplus) bears between the three states. It might be meaningless because there has been no surplus of late. Instead, the grizzly will possibly be put back on the threatened species list in the Greater Yellowstone. It depends on how many more bears are killed this year. On the other hand, if accidental and illegal deaths decline, this could be meaningful.

This has been under the radar for me. Below is the Memorandum of Understanding.

_______________

Draft

June 2009

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING REGARDING THE MANAGEMENT AND ALLOCATION OF Discretionary MORTALITY OF GRIZZLY BEARS FOR HUNTING IN THE GREATER YELLOWSTONE ECOSYSTEM

Between

Wyoming Game and Fish Commission,

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and

Idaho Department of Fish and Game

This Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is made and entered into by and between the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission (WGFD), Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MFWP) and Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG), collectively referred to as the Parties.

I.  Purpose

The purpose of this MOU is to define the process by which the Parties will coordinate annual efforts to develop recommendations for the allocation of discretionary mortality, if any, of grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem for hunting consistent with the Final Grizzly Bear Conservation Strategy for the Greater Yellowstone Area and state management plans.

II.  Background

The Final Conservation Strategy for Grizzly Bears in the Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA) establishes maximum allowable mortality limits for adult male and female, as well as dependent young, grizzly bears in the ecosystem to ensure the entire population maintains an overall growth rate equal to, or greater than zero.  The Conservation Strategy incorporates state management plans that have different, but compatible, management objectives for the three state parties.  Specifically, the state of Wyoming’s objective is to limit further expansion of the population in size and distribution per “Grizzly Bear Occupancy Management Following Delisting as a Threatened Species” (2005).  The states of Idaho and Montana have an objective of allowing the population to expand into biologically suitable and socially acceptable areas.

The Parties are committed to minimizing the amount of grizzly bear mortality due to conflict with human activities and defense of life and property or other management removals, collectively referred to as “non-discretionary mortality.”  To the extent non-discretionary mortality can be held below the maximum allowable levels for the entire Yellowstone population, “discretionary mortality” outside of the National Parks could be available for allocation to other purposes, including translocation to other ecosystems, or hunter harvest as provided for in the Conservation Strategy, state plans, state laws, and regulations.

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Greater Yellowstone grizzly debate heats up-

So, we’re back to an old controversy; what is the true population and its trend?

Greater Yellowstone grizzly debate heats up. By Chris Merrill. Casper Star Tribune.

I know Dave Moody (trophy game coordinator for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department) couldn’t possibly be right about the poor whiteback pine nut crop being part of a natural cycle. It’s well known the whitebark pine trees have largely died. There are a variety of reasons, but this is not part of a cycle. It is the end of the nuts as a major food source.

Greater Yellowstone grizzly deaths pass lethal limit under delisting

Hunter shoots a Montana grizzly sow, charging to protect cub. Her death one too many for the year-

The other day I predicted that the mortality limit for the year would be passed. It was unfortunately an easy prediction. About 10% of the grizzly population has died or been killed this year. If this happens next year, a petition to relist the Yellowstone grizzly will be in order.

Grizzly deaths reach legal ‘trigger point’. By Brett French. The Billings Gazette Staff

Two grizzly bear cubs shot in NW Wyoming

More grizzly bear deaths. Mortality quota exceeded for male and female bears in Greater Yellowstone-
States can’t manage grizzlies and they should be relisted-

Two grizzly bear cubs shot in NW Wyoming. AP. Oct. 27

The brief article doesn’t mention the ESA implications, but my earlier post certainly leads to the conclusion that both male and female grizzly mortality quotas for the year have been exceeded for the delisted Greater Yellowstone population.

-More- $10,000 offered in grizzly shooting case. Jackson Hole Daily. Oct. 28

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is offering up to $10,000 for information about the shooting of two yearling grizzly cubs near Union Pass Road on Oct. 19.