Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

David Mattson is just inside the Absaroka-Beartooth wilderness north of YNP, holding a limber pine, one of several pine species threatened by climate change which grizzlies use as a food source.
Eric Whitney

On Monday we aired an interview with Dan Ashe, the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. That agency has proposed removing Yellowstone area grizzly bears from the endangered species list. Today we’ll hear from David Mattson, a retired bear biologist and prominent critic who thinks that’s a bad idea.

Critics Raise Concerns Over GYE Grizzly Delisting Proposal
Allen Harris (CC-BY-NC-ND-2)

At a two-day meeting in West Yellowstone that wraps up today, representatives of state, federal and tribal agencies raised several concerns about the proposed removal of the Yellowstone area grizzly bear from the endangered species list.

A chart on display at the public meeting on grizzly delisting in Bozeman Tuesday.
Eric Whitney

In Bozeman Tuesday, more than 200 people came to a public hearing and information session on delisting Yellowstone area grizzly bears.

Grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe joins us to explain why his agency believes Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem grizzlies are ready to come off the endangered species list.

Rules Drafted For Proposed Grizzly Hunting Season
Oregon State University (CC-BY-SA-2)

Two public input meetings on the proposal to remove Yellowstone-area grizzlies from the Endangered Species list are now scheduled. One will be at the Holiday Inn in Bozeman on Tuesday, April 12. It will follow a meeting one day earlier in Cody, Wyoming.

Grizzly bear.
Flickr user Nathan Rupert

Yellowstone-area grizzly bears should be removed from the Endangered Species list - that’s what federal wildlife officials said Thursday.

cover image credit : Tom Mangelson / Rizzoli Publications

A record 59 grizzly bears died in the Yellowstone ecosystem in 2015, most of them after conflicts with hunters and livestock growers. And yet, one bear, a female called 399, has shown a remarkable ability to survive interactions with humans without getting herself into trouble. If 399 emerges from her den next spring, she’ll be 20 years old.

According to journalist Todd Wilkinson “399, because she’s been so accessible, has become the most famous and widely-recognized bear on earth.”

Wilkinson is the author of Grizzlies of Pilgrim Creek:  An Intimate Portrait of 399. The book is coffee-table-sized and includes dozens of gorgeous images captured by Wyoming naturalist-photographer Thomas Mangleson. Wilkinson, says Mangleson had to work hard for those images.

“The only way that you can amass a portfolio like this,” says Wilkinson, “is spending months of every year rising before sun rise, staying out until past dusk, trailing these bears, but not getting too close, because he’s an ethical wildlife photographer. But he also had this network of people wired. So whenever sightings would occur of either 399 or her daughter, 610, Mangelson would know where to go and then provide a stake-out in order to see the bears.”

Three-ninety-nine’s intelligence is legendary. Not only has she managed to stay alive for nearly two decades, but she has taught her cubs what she knows about avoiding trouble with humans.

Big grizzly populations in places like Yellowstone and the Northern Continental Divide, where about 1,600 grizzlies live, are recovery successes for the species.

Grizzly bear.

Grizzly bear managers are meeting in Missoula this week. One thing they’ll be talking about is a bear that made a historic migration across in the Cabinet-Yaak ecosystem this year. 

Tribes Want Protections To Remain For Grizzly Bears

Nov 13, 2015
Grizzly bear.
Gregory Smith (CC-BY-SA-2)

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — American Indians across the Western U.S. are challenging moves by federal wildlife officials to lift protections for grizzly bears that roam a vast wilderness centered on Yellowstone National Park, citing worries over potential trophy hunting of a species many tribes consider sacred.