Montana Public Radio

Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

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.

nps.gov

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.
(PD)

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.

Emigrant Peak north of Yellowstone, near the area of a proposed Lucky Minerals mine exploration.
Flickr user Sean Wolf (CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0)

Caroline Byrd describes south-central Montana's scenic Emigrant Gulch in the Paradise Valley as Yellowstone National Park's "northern backdoor".

"It's got wildlife. It's got water. It's got scenic beauty and it's got real ecological importance for keeping the whole place knit together," says Byrd.

Byrd, the executive director of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition says that's no place for a mine.

Emigrant Peak, near a proposed mine exploration site.
Richard Reeve (CC-BY-SA-2)

Environmentalists say a Canadian company's request to explore for gold and other elements south of Livingston puts the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem at risk.

Lucky Minerals Incorporated wants to explore a six square-mile area for copper, molybdenum and gold in Emigrant Gulch in the Custer Gallatin National Forest and on private land nearby.

Bison
(PD)

A panel of prominent scientists are meeting in Bozeman to talk about controlling brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone area, It’s the start of a year-long process to evaluate options for trying to control the disease.

Grizzly bear mother and cub, stock photo.
(PD)

The federal government's point man on grizzly bears says the Yellowstone ecosystem's grizzly population should be removed from the endangered species list.

Chris Servheen says the most accurate population estimate shows between 1,000 and 1,200 grizzly bears in the Yellowstone ecosystem.

Pages