Grizzly bear ‘highway’ discovery in Canada


This video from the USA is called Grizzly Bears and Wolves of Yellowstone (Full Documentary).

From The Star in Canada:

Grizzly bear ‘highway’ found on West Coast

First Nations researchers find centuries-old paw prints that show bears are very predictable in both the times of day they’re active and the routes they take

By: , Star Reporter,

Published on Fri Jul 25 2014

First Nations researchers have discovered what they believe is a grizzly-bear highway of sorts: centuries-old paw prints worn deep into the mossy floor of the Pacific Coast rain forest.

“I suspect that these grizzly bear paths have been here as long as grizzly bears have been here,” said William Housty, director of Coastwatch, a scientific initiative led by the Heiltsuk First Nation.

The Heiltsuk people have been in the area for 9,000 years and Housty believes the grizzly bear roadways along the waterways go back generations.

“Grizzly bears are very similar to humans in the way that they nurture their young, and raise them to know the territory around them,” Housty said in an email from the woods.

Heiltsuk people have shared and maintained the same roadways over generations, creating a lasting connection between the Heiltsuk and grizzly bears, Housty said.

The society set up to stop the logging that threatened to clear cut the area and hurt salmon spawning spots along the Koeye River in the late 1990s.

Healthy salmon stock means the grizzly and black bears, wolves, mink, marten and bald eagles have a food supply.

When the logging stopped, the bear populations rebounded, he said.

Grizzly bears can weigh 363 kilograms (800 lbs.) and stand 2.4 meters (eight feet) on their hind legs, but Housty insists the grizzly bear study isn’t dangerous, as long as it’s done with respect and good sense.

“We do spend a lot of time in the wild, on foot with these bears, and have never once had a negative encounter with any of them,” Housty says.

“We have the greatest respect for the bears, and always make sure to let them know when we are in the area, and there seems to be a mutual respect from them as well. Never have we ever carried a fire arm when doing this study, however we did carry bear spray. But overall, I do not consider the study to be dangerous.”

He’s one of three technicians working on the study, but there are also youth and family camp programs operating in the same study area, meaning there can be from 40 to 60 people in the Koeye watershed at one time during the summer months.

He said his group are currently working with the neighbouring Kitasoo, Nuxalk and Wuikinuxv First Nations, as well as with academic institutions such as the University of Victoria and Raincoast Conservation Society to take a more regional approach to this study.

In the study, individual grizzly bears were identified through DNA analysis of hair samples, obtained by putting salmon-scented bait inside wire snares to catch the grizzly hair.

As they got to know the grizzly bears, Housty said it became clear they have routines, much like humans.

“There are certain areas where grizzlies go to feed on salmon and berries, and if you spend enough time, you can pinpoint an exact time when they go to feed at the same time every day — usually at dusk and dawn,” Housty said. “They also do the same when it comes to berries. They work in cycles, and move to and fro within the watershed chasing berries and trickles of salmon that are coming in. It is very easy to predict when bears will be out and about.”

Mexican wolves born in wild for first time in decades


This video from the USA says about itself:

24 April 2013

An account of the Mexican Wolf, or lobo, at Wolf Conservation Center in South Salem, NY.

From Associated Press:

Mexico Reports Litter Of Mexican Gray Wolves Born In Wild For First Time In Decades

07/18/2014 12:59 pm EDT

MEXICO CITY — The first known litter of Mexican gray wolves has been born in the wild as part of a three-year effort to re-introduce the subspecies to a habitat where it disappeared three decades ago, Mexican officials reported Thursday.

Mexico’s National Commission for Natural Protected Areas said the wolf pups were sighted in June by a team of researchers in the western Sierra Madre mountains.

“This first litter represents an important step in the recovery program, because these will be individuals that have never had contact with human beings, as wolves bred in captivity inevitably do,” the commission said in a statement.

It said the pups appeared to be doing well.

Mexico began reintroducing wolves in 2011, and the parents of this litter had been released in December with hopes they would reproduce. Authorities seldom reveal the exact location of breeding pairs in recovery programs, to protect endangered species.

The commission did not respond to requests about how many wolves now live in the wild in Mexico.

The Mexican gray wolf was almost wiped out in the U.S. Southwest by the same factors that eliminated it in Mexico: hunting, trapping and poisoning.

The last five survivors in the U.S. were captured between 1977 and 1980, and then bred in captivity. The first wolves were re-introduced into the wild in the Southwest starting in 1998, mainly in Arizona and New Mexico.

The Mexican gray wolf remains an endangered species in the United States and Mexico.

But a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service annual survey released in January showed there are at least 83 of the endangered predators in Arizona and New Mexico, marking the fourth year in a row the population has increased.

Save North Carolina’s red wolves


From eNature.com in the USA:

Save the Red Wolf Sign Our Petition To End Illegal Poaching Of An American Icon! Take action today!

Red wolf

They once roamed the southeastern U.S. Now they’re making a last stand in the forests of eastern North Carolina.

Please sign our petition encouraging measures to protect our few remaining Red Wolves!

Dear Friend,

Red wolves once roamed across the southeastern United States. Today, they are making their last stand in the scrub forests of eastern North Carolina. Just 90-110 wild Red wolves remain in North Carolina – the only place they exist in the wild.

You can help protect our remaining Red Wolves by signing this petition!

Red wolf

Red wolves were once abundant across the Southeast — roaming from Virginia to Florida and all the way to east Texas. By 1970, however, they’d been driven to the brink of extinction by decades of persecution and systematic efforts to eliminate wolves from the American landscape. After the species was declared endangered in 1973, the last 17 wild red wolves were captured for a captive breeding program.

However, there is hope….

Red wolf releases began in North Carolina’s Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in the mid 1980s, but recovery efforts have repeatedly been thwarted by illegal shootings that have kept the population from expanding. And now, rather than taking steps to curtail activities that harm red wolves, the US Fish and Wildlife Service has done little and the poaching continues.

Will you sign our petition urging action to protect our remaining Red wolves from this illegal poaching?

Please urge Fish and Wildlife Service Director Daniel Ashe and other decision-makers to protect our remaining Red wolves and continue the very succesful reintroduction program in the Alligator National Wildlife Refuge.

So please sign this petition. Director Ashe and others need to know we ALL believe that these wolves deserve protection.

Thank you for your help– it really can help make a difference! While it may seem like “inside baseball”, reaching out to Director Ashe as we are with this petition is the BEST way to ensure he knows that we care about Red wolves and their fate in the wild.

Sincerely,

Robin McVey

Robin McVey
Public Editor, eNature.com

Wolves back in Denmark


This video from 2013 is called Danish wolf is back.

From Wildlife Extra:

First wolf family heard in Denmark for 200 years

April 2014: It is suspected by a group of wolf enthusiasts in Denmark that the country probably has its first resident wolf family for over 200 years, reports Rewilding Europe. Ulvetracking Danmark has gone to great lengths to register the sounds of the Danish wolves, recorded in Jutland in January. Holly Root-Gutteridge, an English wolf expert and PhD student at Nottingham Trent University, believes that these howls stem from an entire wolf family. This means that these could be the first wolf pups born in the wild of Denmark for well since the early 19th century.

“This is the biggest fauna sensation we have had for many years,” said Mogens Trolle, zoologist in the Nature Science Museum at the University of Copenhagen.

“There’s at least two adults there,” said Root-Gutteridge. “One with a nice deep howl, which is almost a baseline to the chorus, is probably the male and father of the pups, as it’s rare to have unrelated males in the same pack. There are possibly three adults, but I need more analysis of the recording to be sure. There are also pups on there. Considering the recording was made in January, they might be wolves that are eight to 10 months of age, with not quite fully developed howls.”

Listen to the two recordings in Jutland by clicking this link and scrolling down.

That possibility is strengthened by the fact that two different sets of wolf tracks were found on 30 January 2013 in the same area in Jutland where the howls were recorded. Once the world’s most widely distributed mammal, the grey wolf declined across Europe as a result of relentless persecution over centuries. Ultimately, by the 1970s, it was confined to only a few areas in the south and the northeast of the continent. However, with increasing public acceptance and legal protection, combined with an increase in wild ungulate numbers, the wolf has been able to begin to regain more and more of its former territory.

Petitioning The Danish Government. The Danish Government: Please protect Danish Wolves: here.

Wolves near the Dutch-German border: here.

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How Yellowstone wolves help other wildlife


This video about the USA says about itself:

How Wolves Change Rivers

13 Feb 2014

When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable “trophic cascade” occurred. What is a trophic cascade and how exactly do wolves change rivers? George Monbiot explains in this movie remix.

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Wolves learning from humans, new research


This video says about itself:

In the Valley of the Wolves – Nature Full Documentary HD 2013

Nature Documentary: In the Valley of the Wolves
Narrated by F. Murray Abraham

In 1995, the first gray wolves were transported from Alberta, Canada to Yellowstone National Park, to repopulate the sprawling landscape with the species, absent for more than 70 years. The following year, a second wave of wolves was brought to the park from British Columbia, Canada; five of them were released together, and they were named the Druid Peak pack.

Since the arrival of those first immigrants, wolves have thrived in Yellowstone — and none more dramatically than the Druids. The epic history of the Druids, one of more than a dozen packs now occupying the 2.2 million acres of Yellowstone, is documented in NATURE’s In the Valley of the Wolves, was produced and shot in High Definition by Emmy-award winning filmmaker Bob Landis. On the Web site for In the Valley of the Wolves, you’ll learn how the successful reintroduction of Yellowstone’s apex predator has changed the entire ecosystem of the park, and about the threats that these majestic animals continue to face on their road to recovery.

The gray wolf or grey wolf (Canis lupus) is a species of canid native to the wilderness and remote areas of North America, Eurasia, and North Africa. It is the largest member of its family, with males averaging 43–45 kg (95–99 lb), and females 36–38.5 kg (79–85 lb). It is similar in general appearance and proportions to a German shepherd, or sled dog, but has a larger head, narrower chest, longer legs, straighter tail and bigger paws. Its winter fur is long and bushy, and predominantly a mottled gray in colour, although nearly pure white, red, or brown to black also occur.

Within the genus Canis, the gray wolf represents a more specialised and progressive form than its smaller cousins (the coyote and golden jackal), as demonstrated by its morphological adaptations to hunting large prey, its more gregarious nature and its highly advanced expressive behavior. It is a social animal, travelling in nuclear families consisting of a mated pair, accompanied by the pair’s adult offspring. The gray wolf is typically an apex predator throughout its range, with only humans and tigers posing a serious threat to it. It feeds primarily on large ungulates, though it also eats smaller animals, livestock, carrion, and garbage.

The gray wolf is one of the world’s most well researched animals, with probably more books written about it than any other wildlife species. It has a long history of association with humans, having been despised and hunted in most agricultural communities due to its attacks on livestock, while conversely being respected by some Native American tribes. It is the sole ancestor of the dog, which was first domesticated in the Middle East. Although the fear of wolves is prevalent in many human societies, the majority of recorded attacks on people have been attributed to animals suffering from rabies. Non-rabid wolves have attacked and killed people, mainly children, but this is unusual, as wolves are relatively few, live away from people, and have been taught to fear humans by hunters and shepherds. Hunting and trapping has reduced the species’ range to about one third of its original range, though its still relatively widespread range and stable population means that the species is not threatened at a global level, and is therefore classified by the IUCN as Least Concern.

From Wildlife Extra:

Study shows pre-existing capacity of wolves to learn from humans

Domestication of dogs may have been built on this predisposition

December 2013: Wolves can learn from observing humans and pack members where food is hidden and recognise when humans only pretend to hide food, reports a study for the first time in the open-access journal Frontiers in Psychology. These findings imply that when our ancestors started to domesticate dogs, they could have built on a pre-existing ability of wolves to learn from others, not necessarily pack members.

A paper published recently in the journal Science suggested that humans domesticated dogs about 18,000 ago, possibly from a European population of grey wolves that is now extinct. But it remains unknown how much the ability of dogs to communicate with people derives from pre-existing social skills of their wolf ancestors, rather than from novel traits that arose during domestication.

In a recent study, Friederike Range and Zsófia Virányi from the Messerli Research Institute at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, investigated if wolves and dogs could observe a familiar ‘demonstrator’ – a human or a specially trained dog – to learn where to look for food within a meadow. The subjects were 11 North American grey wolves and 14 mutts, all between 5 and 7 months old, born in captivity, bottle-fed, and hand-raised in packs at the Wolf Science Center of Game Park, Ernstbrunn, Austria.

The wolves and dogs were two to four times more likely to find the snack after watching a human or dog demonstrator hide it, implying they had learnt from the demonstration instead of only relying on their sense of smell. Moreover, they rarely looked for the food when the human demonstrator had only pretended to hide it.

The wolves were less likely to follow dog demonstrators to hidden food. This does not necessarily mean that they were not paying attention to dog demonstrators: on the contrary, the wolves may have been perceptive enough to notice that the demonstrator dogs did not find the food reward particularly tasty themselves, and so simply did not bother to look for it.

Wolf inbreeding could end world’s longest predator-prey study: here.

GenomeWeb News – Dog domestication from a still-to-be-determined group of wild wolf ancestors likely occurred through a series of dynamic processes that began before the advent of widespread agriculture by humans, according to a new PLOS Genetics study.

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Save American wolves


From Earthjustice in the USA:

Earthjustice - Take Action Today
TAKE ACTION! Protect Wolves From Brutal Hunting, Trapping, and Poisoning Take action today!
Gray wolf adult with pup. (Alexandru Magurean / iStock)

The Obama Administration has announced plans to abandon federal protections for gray wolves.

Take action now to prevent this premature delisting!

Dear Reader,

The call of the wild is being silenced nationwide by federal bureaucrats. We only have a short time to change their minds. Submit your comment now to keep gray wolves on the federal endangered species list.

Wolves are one of the most iconic symbols of America’s wild places. Yet, for centuries they were ruthlessly hunted, trapped, and poisoned, bringing them to the brink of extinction in the lower-48 states.

Wolves have made gains since being reintroduced in Yellowstone, but their position is tenuous to nonexistent in the vast majority of their former range, including California, the Pacific Northwest, the southern Rocky Mountains, and the Northeast. Despite this, last month the Obama Administration announced plans to strip wolves across nearly the entire continental U.S. of their federal protections.

Will you lend gray wolves your voice so their recovery can continue?

I have witnessed—and defeated in court—a number of flawed attempts to delist and hunt gray wolves, but this is the most far-reaching plan yet. We have seen more than a thousand wolves killed in the past two years, in states where wolves have already lost federal protections. If we don’t stop this proposal from going forward, the assault on wolves will spread to more states.

Save gray wolves from state-sanctioned hunts: send your comment in today!

Thank you for speaking out,

Doug Honnold

Doug Honnold
Managing Attorney

Take action today!

P.S. The Obama Administration needs to hear from each and every wolf supporter, to make our collective voices heard. Please weigh in now, before it’s too late.

Wolf near Blacktail Pond, Yellowstone National Park. (Jim Peaco / NPS)
©2013 Earthjustice | 50 California Street, Suite 500, San Francisco, CA 94111 | 415-217-2000 | action@earthjustice.org
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 Photo Credits:   Top: Gray wolf adult with pup. (Alexandru Magurean / iStock)
Bottom: Wolf near Blacktail Pond, Yellowstone National Park. (Jim Peaco / NPS)

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Prehistoric Canadian and Idaho animals research


This video says about itself:

7 March 2013

Scientists find a giant camel fossil in the Arctic.

Most of us know what a modern day camel looks like.

But around 3.5 million years ago, giant camels roamed the arctic forests, and today their remains have been found in Canada.

30 bone fragments were found in the tundra.

The remains were mummified, rather than fossilized, and had remnants of collagen proteins.

Protein analysis of the bones shows that the animal is related to present day camels.

Scientists have been aware of the fact that camels evolved in North America, but this is the northernmost latitude that evidence of ancient camels has been found.

Doctor Mike Buckley, an author of the study from the University of Manchester, said: “It suggests that many of the adaptations that we currently think of, in terms of camels being adapted to warm desert-like environments, could have actually originated through adaptation to quite the opposite extreme… cold, harsh environments.”

Some evolutionary traits that work well for both types of environments include flat feet for walking on sand and snow, and the camel’s hump, which stores fat to help the animal survive through harsh conditions.

The ancient camels were about 30 percent larger than modern day camels, and scientists think that they only had one hump.

So, these ancient camels are from the Pliocene epoch.

From the Seattle Times in the USA:

Friday, August 30, 2013 at 9:13 PM

Scientists, students study ancient camel tracks in NW

Tracks left in the earth tens of thousands of years ago by camels, llamas and wolves offer scientists a trove of information about prehistoric life in Southeast Idaho.

By MICHAEL H. O’DONNELL

Idaho State Journal

AMERICAN FALLS, Idaho — To the untrained eye, the tracks along the western shore of the reservoir look fresh — odd in shape, but recent.

The fact is they were made by an ancient North American camel some 20,000 to 50,000 years ago, and the trail of tracks contains a treasure trove of information for paleontologists like Mary Thompson of the Idaho Museum of Natural History on the Idaho State University Campus.

Thompson was beaming with excitement recently as a dozen ISU scientists and graduate students explored the trackways discovered along the edge of American Falls Reservoir this month.

Preserved tracks found in the hardened sands included those of camels, llamas and a large dire wolf or Canis dirus. All lived during the Pliocene epoch when the large lake above American Falls provided water for creatures who enjoyed a cooler climate and a forested Southeast Idaho.

Earlier this article said: “some 20,000 to 50,000 years ago”. Now, it says Pliocene. Both can’t be right at the same time. The Pliocene ended 2,5 million years ago. Camelops hesternus, the fossil camels discovered, became extinct about 11,000 years ago. So, they were Pleistocene animals; not Pliocene.

“Camels originated in North America, as did llamas,” Thompson said.

Animals like camels and llamas provided a food source for predators like the dire wolf. This ancient canine was about 5 feet long and weighed about 130 pounds — slightly smaller than today’s timber wolf.

Thompson said determining the origin of predator tracks is more difficult because there were so many during that time period. Ancient bears and coyotes shared territories with the North American lion and two types of saber-toothed tiger.

The llama tracks discovered by ISU’s team are Hemiauchenia macrocephala or “bigheaded llamas.” The camels are Camelops hesternus or “yesterday’s camel.”

“This is one of the top locations in the nation for Pliocene vertebrates,” Thompson said about the area upstream from American Falls. “It’s just behind the La Brea Tar Pits.”

The La Brea Tar Pits, like apparently the new discoveries, are from the Pleistocene, not the Pliocene. A paleontologist like Ms Thompson will certainly know that. Probably, the journalist misquoted her.

Her enthusiasm for the so-called “trackways” was shared by Robert Schlader, manager of the Idaho Virtual Lab at ISU’s museum. He was busy setting up sophisticated 3-D imaging equipment with two graduate students.

Schlader explained how the equipment uses lasers and a rotating mirror to create a three-dimensional image of the walkway.

“It’s essentially doing the same thing as policeman’s radar gun, except instead of measuring speed it measures distance,” Schlader said.

The grad students set up white balls along both sides of the walkway to serve as targets. Once the equipment has gathered all the data, Schlader will take it back to his lab and use it to create a virtual environment as it existed 20,000 or more years ago when the ancient animals were making tracks to the water’s edge.

“Our big goal today is to try to capture and document as much as possible of this,” Thompson said. “The trackways tell us a lot more about what the animals were doing,” Thompson said. “We’ll be at this for several days.”

And those several days of field work will translate into a more accurate glimpse of life in Southeast Idaho when a lava flow blocked the Snake River at American Falls and formed a large inland lake long, long before modern engineers did the same for irrigation.

Dutch she-wolf was from eastern Europe


This video is called Wolf Pack – Documentary.

Translated from Algemeen Dagblad daily in the Netherlands:

Luttelgeest wolf came from Eastern Europe

Edited by: editors

7-8-13 – 17:01 Source: ANP news agency

The dead she-wolf, found on July 4 in Luttelgeest, was largely of Eastern European descent. The animal almost certainly migrated to the Netherlands from the Eastern Czech Republic, Southern Poland or Slovakia. It is also probable that the wolf had lived for a while in the Netherlands.

The DNA of the animal corresponded for 96.5 percent to wolves from the Carpathians. In addition to that, there was 3 percent Italian DNA and 0.5 percent DNA of a dog.

Research by scientists on the wolf’s body shows this. The result is surprising, says wolves expert Leo Linnartz, because it was believed that the animal would have German blood. Experts thought that the about 2 years old she-wolf pack originated from a German pack living east of Emmen, and went to the Netherlands from there.

Noordoostpolder

The Carpathian she-wolf must have walked about 900 kilometers in order to reach the Dutch Noordoostpolder. About a quarter of wolves roam so far in order to find a new territory. It is normal for young wolves to leave their pack. To determine from which pack the wolf came, further research is needed which is going to take several weeks. Late August it will be known whether the animal ran to the Netherlands independently.

In the Noordoostpolder also six fresh droppings were found, most likely to be wolf’s droppings. The researchers found in the poo red deer hair and hair and bones of a fox. In the Netherlands, no other predator is known which feeds on such large animals.

Although it is still not 100% certain that these were the Luttelgeest she-wolf’s droppings, still the amount of poo indicates that a wolf-like animal has wandered for a while in that area. Probably, the Luttelgeest wolf was a so-called solitary animal and alone in that environment, but only when its DNA will be identified from the droppings that will be really certain.

Yellowstone wolves helping grizzly bears


This video from the USA is called Grizzly vs. Polar Bear.

From Wildlife Extra:

The return of wolves to Yellowstone has helped grizzly bears

Wolves provide a boost to bears, birds and butterflies

July 2013. A new study suggests that the return of wolves to Yellowstone National Park is beginning to bring back a key part of the diet of grizzly bears that has been missing for much of the past century – berries that help bears put on fat before going into hibernation. It’s one of the first reports to identify the interactions between these large, important predators, based on complex ecological processes.

Wolves proving huge value to wildlife

The researchers found that the level of berries consumed by Yellowstone grizzlies is significantly higher now that shrubs are starting to recover following the re-introduction of wolves, which have reduced over-browsing by elk herds. The berry bushes also produce flowers of value to pollinators like butterflies, insects and hummingbirds; food for other small and large mammals; and special benefits to birds.

The report said that berries may be sufficiently important to grizzly bear diet and health that they could be considered in legal disputes – as is white pine nut availability now – about whether or not to change the “threatened” status of grizzly bears under the Endangered Species Act.

Wild fruit important part of grizzly diet

“Wild fruit is typically an important part of grizzly bear diet, especially in late summer when they are trying to gain weight as rapidly as possible before winter hibernation,” said William Ripple, a professor in the OSU Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society, and lead author on the article. “Berries are one part of a diverse food source that aids bear survival and reproduction, and at certain times of the year can be more than half their diet in many places in North America.”

When wolves were removed from Yellowstone early in the 1900s, increased browsing by elk herds caused the demise of young aspen and willow trees – a favourite food – along with many berry-producing shrubs and tall, herbaceous plants. The recovery of those trees and other food sources since the re-introduction of wolves in the 1990s has had a profound impact on the Yellowstone ecosystem, researchers say, even though it’s still in the very early stages.

Need for an ‘ecologically effective number of wolves’

“Studies like this also point to the need for an ecologically effective number of wolves,” said co-author Robert Beschta, an OSU professor emeritus. “As we learn more about the cascading effects they have on ecosystems, the issue may be more than having just enough individual wolves so they can survive as a species. In some situations, we may wish to consider the numbers necessary to help control over browsing, allow tree and shrub recovery, and restore ecosystem health.”

As wolves help reduce elk numbers in Yellowstone and allow tree and shrub recovery, researchers said, this improves the diet and health of grizzly bears. In turn, a healthy grizzly bear population provides a second avenue of control on wild ungulates, especially on new-borns in the spring time.

Percentage of fruit in grizzly bear diet doubled during August

Yellowstone has a wide variety of nutritious berries – serviceberry, chokecherry, buffaloberry, twinberry, huckleberry and others – that are highly palatable to bears. These shrubs are also eaten by elk and thus likely declined as elk populations grew over time. With the return of wolves, the new study found the percentage of fruit in grizzly bear scat in recent years almost doubled during August.

Because the abundant elk have been an important food for Yellowstone grizzly bears for the past half-century, the increased supply of berries may help offset the reduced availability of elk in the bears’ diet in recent years. More research is needed regarding the effects of wolves on plants and animals consumed by grizzly bears.

Overgrazing led to livestock depredation

There is precedent for high levels of ungulate herbivory causing problems for grizzly bears, who are omnivores that eat both plants and animals. Before going extinct in the American Southwest by the early 1900s, grizzly bear diets shifted toward livestock depredation, the report noted, because of lack of plant-based food caused by livestock overgrazing. And, in the absence of wolves, black bears went extinct on Anticosti Island in Canada after over-browsing of berry shrubs by introduced while-tailed deer.

Increases in berry production in Yellowstone may also provide a buffer against other ecosystem shifts, the researchers noted – whitebark pine nut production, a favoured bear food, may be facing pressure from climate change. Grizzly bear survival declined during years of low nut production.

Livestock grazing in grizzly bear habitat adjacent to the national park, and bison herbivory in the park, probably also contribute to high foraging pressure on shrubs and forbs, the report said. In addition to eliminating wolf-livestock conflicts, retiring livestock allotments in the grizzly bear recovery zone adjacent to Yellowstone could benefit bears through increases in plant foods.

The report was published by scientists from Oregon State University and Washington State University in the Journal of Animal Ecology.

Climate change is killing these wolves. Should the government save them? Here.

All across the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, a 28,000-square-mile area covering parts of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho, a devastating beetle infestation has been killing whitebark pines. The consequences may stretch far beyond the fate of a single species of tree, however. The whitebark pine has been called the linchpin of the high-altitude ecosystem. The trees produce cones that contain pine seeds that feed red squirrels, a bird known as the Clark’s nutcracker and, most significantly, grizzly bears — a symbol of the American West and the current focus of a high-profile conservation battle: here.

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