Yellowstone Park May Delist Grizzlies

New research indicates that the grizzly bear has a more diverse diet than previously thought - including pine nuts, elk, bison, berries, trout, and insects - and that food sources available in Yellowstone National Park are sustainable for the bear population.

New research findings indicate that the Yellowstone National Park grizzly bear population is not as heavily dependent on whitebark pine trees as previously thought. Biologists thought that whitebark pine nuts were a staple of hungry bears looking to bulk up before their winter hibernation. This past assumption led the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to overturn a 2007 decision to remove the bears from the federal protections list in 2010. At that later date a federal district judge ruled that the grizzlies’ delisting did not take into account the loss of the whitebark pine as a significant food source.

The more recent findings, presented on November 7, 2013 indicate that the grizzly diet is more varied than pine nuts. The study showed that the bears eat more elk and bison meat, as well as insects, berries and trout. As a result, the subcommittee of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee voted 10-4 in its decision to accept the research findings, which means the subcommittee will recommend that the USFWS remove the grizzly from its “threatened” position on the federal protections list.

If the USFWS does decide to delist the bears, then the animals’ management will be turned over to the states in which they live. Each state would have license to establish bear hunting seasons. The decision is expected to be made by the end of December 2013.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife bear researcher Chris Servheen said the USFWS would make a final decision on a delisting rule by the end of December, based upon the IGBC recommendations.

“There's no decision yet. That will depend on the input we get,” USFWS bear researcher Chris Servheen told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. “If we decide to produce a new proposed rule, we will start the process immediately in 2014.”



Yellowstone Grizzly Population at Risk of Decline

Sept 2013: Researchers believe there are fewer grizzlies in Yellowstone than previously estimated. Are there enough for the bears to be taken off the endangered species list?

Grizzly Bear at Swan Lake Flats. Photo by NPS Jim Peaco

Should Grizzly Bears be Delisted?

April 17, 2008: There are all kinds of answers to the question of whether the grizzly in the lower 48 is doing well enough to no longer require protection.


Studying Grizzly Activity

How will an increase in grizzly population will affect campgrounds in the park?

Grizzly bear in Yellowstone

Grizzly bear deaths in Yellowstone

A recent study by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team finds that 10 of the 16 grizzly bears that have died so far this summer in Yellowstone National Park have died of natural causes.

Grizzly bear in Yellowstone

Yellowstone Grizzly Bears By the Numbers

The grizzly population beat all odds after teetering on the brink of extinction. It grew from 136 bears in 1975 to around 700 in 2016.

Momma grizzly and her cub on May 15, 2014 near Daisy Geyser

Man Killed by Grizzly in Yellowstone Aug 2015

A hiker was found dead in Yellowstone, apparently from a grizzly bear attack. The victim was 63-year-old Lance Crosby from Billings Montana.


Yellowstone Grizzly Deaths Highest in Four Years

According to statistics from the United States Geological Survey (USGS), 2012 saw the highest number of grizzly bear deaths in the greater Yellowstone area in the past four years. Researchers recorded a total of 51 bear deaths this year, compared to 44 deaths in 2011, 50 deaths in 2010 and 31 in 2009.

Grizzly bear on bison carcass near Yellowstone Lake. Photo taken April 2013 by NPS Jim Peaco

Yellowstone Grizzlies Coming Out of Hibernation Early

Feb 9, 2015: The first Yellowstone grizzly bear out of hibernation was spotted today at a bison carcass. This is a month earlier than usual.

Grizzly bear among wildflowers. Photo by Jeff Dukart

Grizzly attacks hunter in Grand Teton

A man hunting elk in Grand Teton National Park was attacked by a grizzly bear Sunday Oct. 30th. The hunter, Timothy Hix, of Jackson, escaped the attack suffering minor injuries.