Family Ursidae – Bear
Ursus americanus - Black Bear
The US Fish and Wildlife Service maintains a website at BLACK BEAR.
Kurten (1973) distinguishes three North American subspecies of the brown or grizzly bear:
Ursa arctos middendorffi is the Kodiak bear, from Kodiak and Afognak islands.
Ursa arctos dalli is another subspecies of the brown, or grizzly, bear found on the south coast of Alaska and the west coast of British Columbia.
Ursa arctos horribilis is the subspecies found throughout the rest of its range.
However, Hall 1984), recognizes nine North American subspecies of U. arctos. Interestingly, Old World populations long have been recognized as composing a single species under the name U. arctos, and the common name of brown bear. At the present time, most person studying bears follows the practice of calling all North American brown or grizzly bears by the single species name U. arctos.
The other two North American bear are;
Ursa americanus is the black bear.
Ursa maritimus, the polar bear, evolved from the brown bear late in the glacial epoch; so similar that they have mated in zoos to produce fertile hybrids.
WONDERFUL WEST VIRGINIA (JAN 2001) – According to Tom Dotson, WV DNR district wildlife biologist of the state’s southwest counties, in 1980, there were fewer than 500 black bears in the state, with a harvest of 47. Today, the black bear population is nearly 10,000. In 1999, the bear harvest was 994, down from the record 1,082 killed in 1998. Until the last few years, bears were predominantly found only in the eastern mountains. They now inhabit southern and southwestern WV in significant numbers. A major DNR study is now underway.
Adults typically weigh 200 to 400 pounds, although under ideal habitat, 600 pounders are possible. The ultimate omnivore, their diet is 75% vegetative (hard mast-nuts, soft mast-berries; seeds, and roots) and 25% animal (carrion, chipmunks, mice, eggs, fish, frogs and insects). Years of good hard mast production result in bears entering winter dormancy with high fat levels. This results in high winter survival and high reproductive rates. With a good mast season, bears stay out longer, which promotes a good gun season. With a poor mast season, the opposite is true, with the earlier bow hunters having more success than the gun hunters.
Black bears breed every other year in June or July. As a result of delayed implantation, the young (often two) are born in January, weighing 7 to 12 ounces. The cubs continue nursing for the next eight weeks as the mother sleeps. They all emerge from the winter den in March or April, and are weaned by fall. While the mother sleeps, she doesn’t defecate or urinate. How they deal with the accumulation of internal toxic wastes is a medical mystery to man.
Though bears don’t hibernate, their metabolism drops 50 to 60% and the heart rate can drop to 5 to 10 beats per minute. However, body temperature only drops a few degrees, thus permitting them to awaken quickly, as any game biologist can tell you.
Den sites are often large hollow trees, under fallen tree trunks, in a shallow burrow, or in the space beneath a hunting cabin porch.
PENNSYLVANIA WILDLIFE (JAN/FEB 2000) – 1,735 black bear were harvested in the three day Thanksgiving weekend in 1999, down from the record 2,598 harvested in 1998. Clinton County led the state with 128, with Clearfield (120), Center (115) Lycoming (101), and McKean (91) following in most bear numbers. Lower numbers than 1998 were attributed to fog and unusually warm weather.
The 1998 harvest in Pennsylvania was a record with 2,579 bagged during the three day Thanksgiving week. Gary Alt says this was due to the mild weather, as well as a large and widespread acorn crop. Also, an increase in hunters is a contributing factor. Drought also allowed hunters better access to more remote swampy areas. Lycoming County led the state with a record 234 bear shot, followed by Clinton County with 225. Potter County, leader in 1997, dropped to 88 harvested.
In Pennsylvania, the 1997 bear harvest was the third highest on record, with 2,101 shot during the state’s three-day season held Thanksgiving week. The record was in 1989, when 2,220 were shot, and 2,190 were shot in 1995. Potter County topped the 1997 harvest with 175 bagged. (Lycoming Co. had 172 and Clinton had 166.) Interestingly, Potter County only had 69 shot in 1996. Game Commission biologist Gary Alt (see below article) says; "boom or bust harvests are typical in the northcentral counties. When hunting’s hot, it’s very hot. When it’s not, the harvest’s way down. These swings appear to be related to food availability and weather conditions, but we don’t know for sure."
(1/97 personal comm. with Bill Cook, Shenandoah National Park) - Eastern deciduous forests will harbor about 1 bear per square of suitable habitat. SNP has about 250 square miles of suitable habitat; Bill guesses 250 - 350 bears.
Cub survival the first year is 50% due to other bears, weather, and dogs.
Mike Vaughn (Va Tech) did the gypsy moth study and concluded that the bears do move from areas of defoliation.
1996 was a good mast year for SNP, NOT GWNF.
Rainy 1996 means good mushroom season, good for bear. Early spring food is skunk cabbage and squawroot.
Causes of bear loss is development along Park border, hunting in and adjacent to Park, loss of suitable bear habitat.
Denny Martin---Allegheny bear study---Found that 60% of GWNF females den in "chimney trees", with most males using day beds and moving from day to day (even in winter). Young bears can use 36" diameter trees for denning--big help for protection. Even large bears--if they can force their head and shoulders into a cavity, they’ll dig it larger to provide a den.
Roger Powell, of North Carolina, started 3-D mapping of Bear Utilization Areas (BUA’s). This accounts for removal of areas along roads, steep slopes, other unsuitable areas.
Fall food is mainly acorns, which are efficient protein source; therefore, not much left in feces---it breaks down in rain. Bears don’t feed a lot in winter---next commonly found droppings will be spring plugs.
Range varies on quality of habitat---a nine-year-old male may have a quarter mile range with ideal habitat. Polygonal overlays used in old ecology for ranges are out. Note Roger Powell BUA’s, Range changes due to available food, population pressures.
Bill Cook did work in Smokies; including panthers and red wolves.
Most Park bears prepare to den by mid-December. Dens are usually located in trees, and are at least 20 feet above the ground. Cubs, usually two, are born in late January. They weigh 8 ounces when born. Cubs remain with their mothers for about 18 months.
AUDUBON NATURALIST NEWS (10/95) - Black bear are under study by Dr. Michael Vaughan (VPI) as part of the Cooperative Allegheny Bear Study conducted by VPI and the Va Dept of Game and Inland Fisheries. Bear exhibit delayed implantation which, in Virginia, occurs in the last of Nov to early December, five months after mating and initial fertilization in May. Birth takes place two months later. (Dennis Martin is the Bear/Furbearer Program Manager of the Va Dept of Game and Inland Fisheries.) Started in 1994, the Allegheny Bear Study fitted 48 bear with radio collars during the first year. This is an on-going ten-year study looking at their reproduction and general habits. It is believed that 3,500 to 4,500 bear exist in the state. Maryland’s pop may be 200- mainly in Garret County resulting from the southern migration of bear released in SW PA in the 1980's and 8,000 in Pennsylvania (1,500 to 2,000 harvested each year.) Similar research is going on in PA, NC and MD.
Smithsonian RAP (Jan 10, 1994) --- Dr. Gary Alt (PA DER)
-hibernates two months in Florida due to no food - not cold
-relocate 60 miles away; back in three days
-PA bears grow 83 lbs/yr (MINN ave 50 lbs/yr)
-PA bears ave 486 lbs; SNP bears ave 205-400 lbs-due to food supply
bear milk is 24% fat (Versus 4% of cow)
-Male range is 10 - 15 sq mi; female is 3 - 5 sq mi. Females stay close to mother’s range while male goes 10 to 30 miles away after 18 to 30 months.
-ave den opening 18" circum, 5' deep (24" den)
-one in five have white chest spots
60 people killed in North America in this century by grizzlies---no known deaths in eastern US by black bears.
-be aggressive if confronted (as opposed to submissive for grizzlies) DON'T LOOK INTO EYES!
-<1% are brown (more in warm areas)
delayed implantation of embryo-in December with birth in late January. Cubs stay with mother for a year, leave in May, mother mates in June (thus, every other year gives birth)
cubs seek heat---mother’s nipples lose most heat on body. Nipples are three paired with a space between the lowest two for a body fold.
John McPhee calls them velcro cubs
Orphans work well with denning mother, but after denning (when outside) mother will kill after smelling cubs. By rubbing sow’s nose with vapor rub, she will not detect other female odors on cub. (True enough, but tough getting vapor rub on sow’s nose-and living to tell story- so cubs are rubbed with vapor rub---works every time.
-80 % den in snags in Smokies (only 1 % in PA due to smaller trees)
-learn to climb in hemlocks
fallen trees are good for bear dens.
-3 % dens reused
-urea is recycled in hibernating females
-1 cc of hibernating bear serum in woodchuck- it drops in a sec.
-bears love skunk cabbage and ant larvae (consume 20,000 calories/day in Fall)
-PA litters as likely to have 5 as 1
-most male bears breed at 7-8 years; PA breed at 2 1/2 years-due to nutrition
- no one killed in eastern US this century. After contact, 15% of black bear attacks result in serious injury while 58% of grizzlie incidents result in serious injuries.
-14 killed by grizzlies in lower 48 since 1900
-6 killed in past 19 years in Glacier National Park
-5 killed by grizzlies in Yellowstone since opened in 1872.
INTERNATIONAL WILDLIFE (9/10/94) - Canada and US share having all three of the world’s largest carnivores on land (polar, black and brown bear). Size (up to); black; 800 lbs, brown; 1,496 lbs, and polar; 1,760 lbs. References smell ability example of Lynn Rogers bear (Teddy) who traveled 40 miles to get to hazelnuts by smell. Black bear diet is 85% vegetable, but often regularly dine on ant eggs. One bear went 40 miles to dine on hazelnuts (filberts), then ate the squirrel caches. These bears ate 4,000 hazelnuts a day. Black and brown bear utilize delayed implantation. This allows bear to mate in spring and spend all their fall attention to eating--getting ready for winter, rather than mating and fighting. Fall intake increases from 8,000 to 15-20,000 calories per day. Bear sleep without urinating or eating in winter. Their heart rate drops by half, but body temp only drops a few degrees, not nearing freezing like true hibernators. Brown bear can run 40 mph. Polar bear evolved from brown bear---in fact, they still can mate and bear healthy young. 25,000 polar bear in world, double the pop of 30 years ago. Polar bear hair looks white, but is clear. After spring mating, female polar bears double their weight by fall. Black bears can be white (Kermode bears), blonde (12% of Utah's pop) and blue. All bear cubs hum while nursing. Some bear snore. Cubs don't urinate until mom licks anal region. 125,000 brown bear live in circumpolar regions. Canada has 21,000, US 33,000 (mainly in Alaska).
Males range overlap with as many as 15 female. Males will check out the females in his range to see who is receptive.
Great Smoky Mountains (Rose Houk - 1993) - The bears reach their highest density on the continent - one per one or two miles (400 to 600 bear in the 800 sq mile Park). Bear here are black (no color phases) and large-males weigh 200-240, females, 120-130 pounds. Females den in tall tree snags. In January/February, two or three cubs are born while the female sleeps. The bears emerge sometime between March and May; males emerging before the female. They have lost a third of their weight over the winter. Grass and squawroot are early spring foods. Summer diet is 40% berries. The cubs stay with the mother until the following spring, when the mother mates again.
Females can mate at three or four, going into estrus around mid-June. Only after mating does the female ovulate. Through a process called delayed implantation, the fertilized egg suspends development for nearly five months, enabling pregnancy and birthing to occur in the winter months. This allows bears to concentrate on feeding on the mast in the fall, instead of facing the stressful rigors of competition and search for mates before denning for the long winter. Signs of mating include teeth and claw marks six feet up on trees. In the Smokies, bear compete with the wild boar for the fall acorn crop. (Food for the bear is food for the boar.) Bear have an advantage in being able to climb trees, thus gaining first access to the acorns. In good mast years, bear will gain three to five pounds a day in fat reserves. In bad mast years, which happen every three out of four years, competition for the mast is severe, with the females who can’t store adequate fat, losing her eggs, or unable to suckle all her young through the winter period. In addition, in poor mast crop years, bear expand their range in search of fuel and are, thus, more susceptible to hunters and automotive traffic. (Pouching has always been a problem, in part due to the bear gall bladder demand in Asia. An undercover operation in 1988, called Operation Smoky, resulted in the confiscation of 266 gall bladders, 385 claws, 77 feet, four heads nine hides and one cub.) By mid-December, bear have chosen a den, most often a tree cavity well up in a tree or in a hollow stump on the ground, less often just a dense thicket of berry bushes. Rhododendron and hemlock branches are used to make a bed.
Bear do not truly hibernate. Rather, they have prolonged periods of inactivity and sleep. Their metabolism drops by half, and their digestive system tightens into a knot, with the limited waste products reprocessed into the bloodstream in the form of proteins.
ON THE TRAIL OF PENNSYLVANIA’S BLACK BEARS (A 1991 Pa DER video) – This is a presentation of 20 years of data accumulated by Gary Alt in Pa. He collared over 6,000 bear during this period. As of 1991, there are approximately 7,500 bear in PA. This number has tripled in the past 15 years. This is a rate higher than any other north American study. They are harvesting 1,500 a year. The greatest populations are in the Poconos and northeast PA.
North American males average less than 300 pounds while PA males average 500 pounds, maxing out at 650 to 700 pounds. Females range from 150 to 300, maxing out at 454.
Male home range is 12 linear miles (like along a stream) or 60 square miles. Females have a home range of 5 linear miles, or 10 square miles. Both can travel 20 miles for food.
The female can stay in estrus for several weeks. Most mate between late June and early July. Cubs are born in January. Cubs seek heat of mothers’ nipples. Hair length is best age estimate during first ten weeks. Bear den up in December and mothers leave the den the first week of April. In May/June, the yearlings are sent away by the females.
Regarding dispersal, female young stay along the periphery of the mother’s range, while the male yearlings travel from 10 to 80 miles away.
Less than 1% of the black bears are actually brown. Oldest male of record was 20; oldest female was 23.
Look for signs of bear on hemlocks along streams. Bear really like wetlands. Bear wallows are used from June through August.
Bear tracks for females are greater than 5"; with male tracks greater than 6". Look for bear path steps (they tend to walk in the same steps as past bear) and marker trees.
In spring, carcasses are eaten first, along with skunk cabbage, greens, wild turkey eggs and insects. By late May/early June, young fawns may be taken. Juneberries, raspberries and blackberries are next in the season.
They add 20,000 calories per day (2 pounds) in the fall. One bear added 128 pounds in 60 days.
In winter, body temperature falls only 6 degrees. True hibernators eat and defecate every few weeks during the winter. Black bear bed down for the total winter. They do not hibernate, rather, they enter a dormant period.
The average den entrance opening is 17". A third of the bear don’t overwinter in dens, but instead use leaf nests. 20% of cubs from disturbed dens die. Many overwinter under houses. Only 4% of dens are reused, and only half of those by the same bear, two consecutive years. 80% of females breed at 2 ½ years of age. Normally, three cubs are had per brood, with four as common as two, and five as common as one (this happening only 5% of the time).
NATIONAL WILDLIFE (90?) - U.S. Forest Service biologist Lynn Rogers of the Great North Woods in Minnesota. He’s tagged 350 bear and studied them for 21 years. In mid 1980's decided to habituate Minnesota black bears to researchers. American black bear society is matriarchal, with females doling out part of their territory to their daughters. There are 450,000 black bears in North America (12,000 in Minn).
Rogers documented that the females had definite territories of 2-6 square miles, which they defend against other females. Males roam home ranges of 20-60 square miles - too large to defend. North Carolina bear scientist Roger Powell removed radio collars in 1987 since poachers found radio frequency. Terri, the bear, traveled 40 miles with her young to get to some hazelnuts. They consumed 4,000 nuts/day.
Stokes Nature Guide --- Animal Tracking and Behavior
Male home range (5-15 sq. MI) is three times female. No specific home site- range throughout range.
Bears are crepuscular, but can feed all day in summer (above 90 or below freezing, not much activity. They leave tracks, scat, and mark trees. It's not clear what the purpose of mark trees is, but they stretch claws and rub their backs on them. Same tree used by several bears; both male and female. Mostly occurs in midsummer, so maybe courting communication, or just rubbing off old hairs during summer molting.
Bedding area is 36" - 30" area depressed about a foot within dense brush. Young bears usually rest during the day in trees. Unlike grizzly and polar, black bears tend to be vegetarians. Spring food is grasses and emerging plants; summer they eat mostly tree and shrub fruits and berries, and in fall they consume berries, larger fruits, and nuts such as acorns and beechnuts. Insects always; ants, licking them off their paws, honey; larvae and adults as well as honey, and grasshoppers.
During June, male and female couple for almost a month, mating in late June or July, then they split. Delayed implantation allows for November sow date, with a six to eight week gestation period.
Denning is not true hibernation. Temp drops five degrees, heart rate drops from 50 to 15 beats per minute, and metabolism drops 50 %.
The big toe is on the outside of the foot.
Maryland has 200 bears (1991 census)
Virginia has 3,500 to 4,000
Pennsylvania has ~ 8,000
West Virginia has 10,000
In Virginia: 522 shot in 94-95; 602 in 95-96; and 602 in 96-97
A NATURALIST’S GUIDE TO THE YEAR (1985) - When the bear have finishing bulking up in the fall, their stomach and upper intestines shrink. This prevents the sow from defecating during its deep sleep, which would threaten the health of the newborn cubs, who crawl up to her teats for sustenance while she continues to sleep.
Adult bear are solitary except during June breeding. A male will solicitously follow the female for several days, licking and nuzzling her. When she finally comes into heat, couples can stand hugging and licking each other.
Don Middleton’s excellent site, The Bear's Den, is an excellent review of all North American bears.
GRIZZLY BEAR COMMENTS
The US Fish and Wildlife Service maintains a website at GRIZZLY.
In the early nineteenth century, there may have been 100,000 grizzlies in the western conterminous US. Now there are probably fewer than 1,000.
Grizzlies are found in two enclaves in the Lower 48: around the Continental Divide in northern Montana, with Glacier National Park at its core; and in the area containing Yellowstone Park. 400-800 bear inhabit the Glacier area, 200 in the Yellowstone area.
SMITHSONIAN RAP PRESENTATION BY KATE KENDALL (3/00) – (A great website maintained by the USGS documenting Dr. Kendall's research involving this topic, as well as much more information on grizzlies can be found at THIS SITE.)
The use of hair snares is a new method of tracking bear thanks to DNA testing. Much less invasive and disruptive to bear population. DNA samples can be collected from barbed wire, bear rub trees, or from scat.
Black bear are much darker in eastern US.
Grizzlies are born in mid-January. Females’ home range is 5 to 25 square miles; males are 25 to 80 square miles. Winter body temperatures drop only 5 to 10° from summer temperatures. Females are 4 to 5 years of age and weigh 120 lbs. before birthing. Males are reproductive at four years of age. Average life span is 12 to 15 years.
DISCOVER (December 2000) – Not only can grizzlies not live without the wilderness of the Pacific Northwest, but, apparently, the northwest cannot live without grizzlies. Grizzly scat is seasonally very high in a heavy isotope of nitrogen commonly found in salmon flesh. Both this "fertilizing" of the woods through scat, as well as the bringing of half-eaten carcasses into the nearby woods, has resulted in growth of trees along salmon-rich streams growing three times faster than those trees growing along rivers that do not have significant salmon populations.
AUDUBON (11/12-97) - Article by Don Peacock - Grizzlies are in danger due to isolated pops (island ecosystems). July 1, 1997, FWS released plans to restore the grizzlies into the Bitterroot Ecosystem in central Idaho and a little sliver of western Montana (includes the Selway-Bitterroot and Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness areas). This implements part of the 1975 Draft EIS recommendations on the grizzly Endangered Species Recovery Plan. The FWS’s preferred alternative calls for introducing 25 grizzlies over five years into this area. Further, it is proposed to distribute 280 bear over 5,785 sq. miles of wilderness area with a large buffer area surrounding the wilderness. There is a Conservation Biology Alternative supported by some environmentalists, including John Craighead and Charles Jonkel, which will create the corridors between the isolated pops, put the committee controls in the hands of scientists instead of locals, and prohibit the construction of roads through these large expanses of land. Unfortunately, this alternative has basically no political chance of implementation. Don is cautious, but optimistic in the positive direction of the preferred alternative, stressing watching the committee selection and restraints on future logging and logging road development in the study areas. After all, it will result in the reintroduction of grizzlies to the Bitterroot Ecosystem.
SMITHSONIAN RAP (2/25/96) Steve and Marilynn French
WITH RESPECT TO THE YELLOWSTONE GRIZZLY POPULATION
Males out of den first, females second, then subadults, females with cubs last.
Estrus once every three years---cubs stay with mother until third spring. Mating occurs shortly after coming out in spring (June). Couples stay together for 2 to 4 weeks. 90 day gestation with 1 LB cubs. Milk has 25-35% fat content. Litters of 1 to 4, weaned in third spring.
They go to lower elevations to feed. First food will be winterkilled ungulates, also caches of tubers and roots from pocket gopher, and earth worms (sucked up like spaghetti).
Late May-Early June, food is young elk calves.
Early summer, food is trout, who come up into shallow tributaries to lay eggs. 24 fish caught in 30 minutes; 200 per day over a two week period (streams closed in Yellowstone during this period).
Late summer, food is vegetation.
Fall---hyperfascia = super eating frenzy. From 5,000 calories to 20,000 calories per day. Squirrel caches, army cutworms found in talus slopes-can eat up to 20,000 per day! This is main food for 100 of the 300 pop of grizzlies for two months. (10 moth overwintering sites have been found so far).
Grizzly claws not retractable like black bear---also much longer (5"), making it difficult to climb trees.
BACKPACKER (2/95) - As of 1995, there has been nine deaths in Glacier National Park since it’s inception in 1911, with six of them being by human-habituated "garbage bears". Maulings average two per summer. Bears have inefficient guts, so what doesn’t get chewed usually goes through the digestive system intact. The former bear management team leader for six years (Park Ranger for 18 years), Neal Wedum, tells of picking out huckleberries from bear scat, cleaning them off and then giving them to the Granite Park chalet cook who made them into pies for the visitors. Only Neal knew the secret. Only Neal didn’t partake of the pies that night.
WASHINGTON POST (11/21/94) - Maybe 900 - 1,000 grizzlies in lower 48. Several hundred in 10,000 sq. MI area of Montana (Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (includes Glacier National Park), 250 in Yellowstone Park and adjacent National Forests, several dozen in the Selkirk Mountains in northeastern Washington and northwestern Idaho, a dozen in The Cabinet Mountain of northwestern Montana and a few moving in and out of the northern Cascades in northcentral Washington. A sixth area is being considered for reintroduction---the 25,000 sq. mile Selway-Bitterroot wilderness area of northcentral Idaho. Grizzly habitat can be defined by the density of roads. The critical threshold appears to be two miles of road per square mile of habitat.
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC (2/86) - More than a dozen subspecies of the brown bear exist (Ursa arctos). Tens of thousands of grizzlies lived in western US as late as 1850. Doug Seus and his trained 1,300 LB bear Bart, star of many films. Once Doug walked Bart by a pen of deer and two deer literally keeled over and died of shock. Yellowstone National Park isn’t all good grizzly range. In fact, the lodgepole pine ecosystem is very poor in food resources. The surrounding national forest is better habitat, but gets too close to people. Following the 1967 death of two hikers in Glacier NP from dump habituated bear, Yellowstone closed its dumps. Brothers John and Frank Craighead, Jr. urged a gradual closing of the dumps, but the Park opted for the cold turkey alternative. Over 180 bear (both black and brown) were killed as the bears dispersed to find new food sources. As of this article (18 years later), grizzlies were down from 300 to 200 subsequent to the closure of dumps, sows mature at age six instead of five and producing an average of 1.9 cubs per birth, down from 2.2. Sows mate every third year. Brooks Camp in Katmai N.P. is visited by 5,000 annually. Denali is best chance to see grizzlies in N.P. due to diverse forage areas and broad vistas. Maybe 40,000 brown bear live in Alaska (mostly in the southern coastal area) with 900 killed by sportsmen every year. Charles Jonkel works at University of Montana.
SMITHSONIAN (unknown date) - Since 1983, Steve and Marilynn French watch grizzlies in Yellowstone National Park - at a distance so as not to habituate the bear to their presence. Bears eat earthworms that tend to gather under clumps of tufted hairgrass in wet weather. Moths are a seasonal favorite. Dumps in National Parks were closed to bears around 1970, cold-turkey, a move argued by Frank and John Craighead, who had been studying Yellowstone’s bears since 1959. (NPS killed 83 grizzlies in 1970-71.) The Craigheads wanted to phase out the dumps. By the 1980's, the pop has recovered and the French’s believe the grizzlies are doing well now. Counterpoint to the French’s is Doug Peacock, who believes the grizzlies are still in great danger. Peacock studied grizzlies in Yellowstone and Glacier in the mid-70's. Peacock says that by continuing to remove habituated bears, it is domesticating them. "The predatory segment of the population had probably been killed off selectively, and continues to be culled...because predatory bears are bolder and more visible." The end result, he suggests, will be "an animal that looks like a grizzly, albeit a small one, but whose behavior will more closely resemble that of the meeker black bear." While Peacock is instinctive and characteristically haphazard, the French’s are methodical. Steve and Marilynn watched a bear kill at least 98 cutthroat trout each day for ten days. Steve tells about watching a bear digging a trench 20 feet long to get a "little gooey gopher". He says he can’t perceive that its worth the energy, but they get all excited when they hear that little guy squeak. "It’s kind of like a Twinkie."
DISCOVERY (11/95) - Northwestern Montana Grizzlies eat glacier lilies as a mainstay of summer meadow feeding. They "till" the soil, removing much of the bulbs, leaving some. They remove competing weeds, leaving excess nitrogen for remaining bulbs. Resultant lilies produce twice as many seeds as do undisturbed areas.
NATIONAL WILDLIFE (90?) - According to Steve and Marilynn French, many Grizzlies in Yellowstone N.P. eat Army cutworms 6 to 8 hours a day during summer months. 10,000 to 20,000 are eaten daily as the almost exclusive food source. They are high in fat and protein---good for fall fattening for winter storage
SMITHSONIAN (90?) - Alaska's McNeil River State Game Sanctuary (250 miles SW of Anchorage). Katmai National Park on south border. These are Alaska brown bear (technically same species as grizzlies), that can weigh more than 1,000 pounds. They differ as more coastal (mainly coast of southern Alaska, Yukon and British Columbia), and larger. They also hunt salmon, grizzlies don't. Alaska Department of Game and Fish limits visitation to ten per day using lottery. They congregate at McNeil River Falls, starting in late June, peaking in early July through mid August (numbering up to 106 bear/day, up from only 12/day in the early 70's). (Larry Aumiller, and wife, have maintained and run the summer efforts since 1976.) It is felt the bear are pretty pacific due to the abundant food supplies. Here is the website for the McNeil River lottery: