Biologists with the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team will be trapping grizzly bears as part of ongoing research in Yellowstone National Park from August 28 through October 31.
Team members will bait and trap bears at several remote sites in the park. Once trapped, the bears are anesthetized to allow biologists to fit them with radio tracking collars and to collect biological samples for study, according to a statement released Friday by the park’s public affairs office.
Trapping and handling are done in accordance with team’s protocols.
None of the trap sites in the park will be located near any 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 are cautioned to heed the warnings and stay out of the area.
The Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team was established in 1973 to collaboratively monitor and manage ecosystem bears on an interagency basis. The gathering of critical data on the protected bears is part of a long-term research effort required under the Endangered Species Act to help wildlife managers devise and implement programs to support the ongoing recovery of Yellowstone’s grizzly bear population.
Bears generally pose a heightened safety concern 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.
Four hikers have been injured in two separate incidents in the greater Yellowstone area this summer. Hikers are advised to travel in groups of three or more and carry bear spray.
Two Yellowstone Park backcountry hikers were fatally mauled in 2011 in separate incidents involving the same grizzly bear.
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.
For more information regarding grizzly bear research efforts call (406) 994-6675.