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. http://www.nrmsc.usgs.gov/files/norock/products/IGBST/2010Wbp_FINAL.pdf

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.

Rocky Barker: McCain grizzly earmark story raises questions on his focus

Senator McCain doesn’t like “earmarked” congressional spending for special local projects. There is one story he has told for a long time about this kind of “waste.” It’s that of the Montana grizzly bear DNA study. It always gets a great laugh, generates some outrage, and he convinces many of his point of view.

Anyone who knows the slightest about the grizzly DNA project knows, however, that his interpretation of the study is entirely wrong.

Rocky Barker writes about it today in his blog, “Letters to the West”.

McCain grizzly earmark story raises questions on his focus. Rocky Barker. Idaho Statesman