From Staff Reports
Wildlife biologists will be conducting grizzly bear research, including trapping operations, in Yellowstone National Park from Sept. 11 – Oct. 31 as part of ongoing bear studies across the greater Yellowstone area.
Members of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team will bait and trap bears at several remote sites within Yellowstone Park, according to a statement released by the park’s public affairs office. Specific locations were not disclosed.
Once trapped, the bears are sedated so that researchers can collect samples and fit the animals with radio tracking collars.
None of the trap sites in the park will be located near established hiking trails or backcountry campsites, and all trap sites will have posted warnings for the closure perimeter. Potential access points will also be posted with warning signs for the closure area. Backcountry users who come upon any of these posted areas should avoid the area.
Bears generally pose a safety concern only after they start to associate people and their activities with easily obtained food. This can occur if campers do not store food properly, or if pet food, loose garbage or other bear attractants are not secured in residential areas in bear country.
Two Yellowstone Park backcountry hikers were fatally mauled last summer in separate incidents involving the same grizzly bear, and land management officials across the region are taking pains this summer to stress bear safety as a priority.
Wildlife officials studying grizzly bears previously did not alert the public via notices to regional news media about trapping operations. But researchers changed that policy after botanist Erwin Evert was killed by a grizzly bear in June 2010 near Kitty Creek in the Shoshone National Forest, just east Yellowstone National Park. The bear had been trapped and drugged as part of a government study and was released just before the fatal attack. Evert’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the federal government.
The Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team was established in 1973 to collaboratively monitor and manage bears across state and jurisdictional boundaries. The group’s work to gather data on protected bears is part of a long-term research effort required under the Endangered Species Act to help wildlife managers guide agency efforts to assist in the recovery of regional grizzly bear populations.
For more information regarding grizzly bear research efforts call (406) 994-6675.