The future of grizzly bears could change this year, if the animals who frequent Yellowstone National Park are taken off the Endangered Species List. As more animals move outside the park, groups like the Wildlife Conservation Society, or WCS, are looking at where the bears go.
A new study looks at how black and grizzly bears are expanding into habitat in Idaho outside of Yellowstone National Park and how they may interact with humans.
WCS hopes the study will provide data to land managers who will make bear habitat decisions, especially when bears come close to people.
The study used four special dogs from Working Dogs for Conservation to track down where the bears have been traveling in the Centennial Mountains, along the Idaho/Montana border, just west of Yellowstone National Park. Dogs and scientists worked together to track the scat of bears and find out what habitat they prefer.
Jon Beckmann is a conservation scientist with WCS. He says the goal of the study is to give land managers the data they need to make decisions about bear habitat.
“It’s going to be up to each community and each state, as bears are potentially delisted here in the near future and fall under state management, for these communities to grapple with how they are going to live with species like grizzly bears,” said Beckmann.
Beckmann says the study can help identify habitat the bears might like, and habitat that might keep bears away from people.
The group’s new study has been published in the Western North American Naturalist.
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