Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Biologists Extend Scientific Grizzly Bear Trapping Efforts In Caribou-Targhee National Forest Until End Of July
ISLAND PARK - Earlier this summer as part of ongoing efforts required under the Endangered Species Act to monitor the distribution of grizzly bears in the Yellowstone Ecosystem, the Idaho Department of Fish & Game (IDFG) began scientific trapping operations in that portion of the Caribou-Targhee National Forest inside of the caldera in the Island Park area. Data collected from these animals is an important facet of ongoing management of grizzlies in the Yellowstone Ecosystem. So far biologists have been able to trap and radio collar eight grizzlies, but need to extend the trapping period until the end of July in order to trap enough bears to put out the allotted number of collars in circulation out on the landscape.
According to Regional Conservation Educator Gregg Losinski, "It is important for the public to understand that we are not radio collaring and keeping track of every bear in our corner of the state. None of the hundreds of black bears are collared and certainly not all of the grizzlies. Just about everywhere in the Upper Snake Region is potentially bear country, home to one or both species."
Idaho's biologists are part of the larger Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team (IGBST). Similar scientific trapping operations are currently occurring across the Yellowstone Ecosystem. Grizzlies being trapped for scientific purposes are generally bears that have not had run-ins with humans. Management trapping operations for bears that have gotten into conflicts with humans or human related activities are handled in a different manner.
Scientific trapping operations can include a variety of activities, but all areas where work is being conducted will have major access points marked with bright orange warning signs. It is critical that all members of the public heed these signs and not enter areas that are posted. Whenever bear trapping activities are being conducted and for a period of three days afterwards, the area around the site will be posted with bright orange warning signs to inform the public of the activities occurring. These signs are posted along the major access points to the trapping site. It is important that the public heed these signs and not enter an area that has been posted.
Monitoring of grizzly bear distribution is vital to managing a recovered population of grizzlies in the Yellowstone Ecosystem. The majority of funding for these projects is covered by grants from the United States Fish & Wildlife Service. Once trapped, the bears are sedated, studied, and radio collared in accordance with strict protocols developed by the IGBST. Once work is complete, bears are allowed to revive on site and are not transported elsewhere like bears that have been involved in conflicts with humans. For more information regarding grizzly bear trapping efforts or Idaho's role in grizzly bear management, call 208-525-7290.