Bear tracking pays off in Aspen
A long-term wildlife study in the Aspen area shows that bears prefer natural food and tend to stay out of town when berries are plentiful, according to an Aspen Times story by Scott Condon.
The research was conducted by tagging bears and tracking their movements. One female tracked since 2005 frequently visited the town to search for food in years when natural food crops failed. In other years, the bear rarely ventured into town.
The study seems to reinforce what wildlife managers have been saying all along: Troublesome human-bear conflicts can be avoided by making sure that trash, bird feeders and backyard grills are kept away from the animals — especially in years when natural food is scarce. Read the whole story here.
More on Alberta grizzlies and polar bears after the break …
Polar bears may hit ‘tipping point’
Some of the latest polar bear research shows how a warming climate and declining sea ice will affect polar bear reproduction and survival. The results of the study, published in the journal Biological Conservation, predicts that pregnancy rates will fall, and that fewer bears will survive during longer ice-free seasons.
This year’s spring sea ice in the Arctic is one again reaching an all-time low level for this time of year. Researchers said they expect some populations to die off completely, while others will survive at reduced numbers.
The studies show how the sea is critical not only for feeding, but for mating, as males find females by tracking their scent across the ice. As the scientists modeled the impacts and projected results into the future, they found non-linear results, meaning that the bears will survive up to a certain point, but then populations will crash when sea ice levels fall below a certain threshold. The study team also criticized official Canadian government studies on polar bears, saying that those results downplayed global warming impacts. Read more.
Alberta grizzlies get threatened status
After months of political wrangling, grizzlies have been listed as threatened in the Canadian province of Alberta. The decision extends a hunting ban, provincial officials said, explaining that the bears are being affected by habitat loss and low reproductive success. The Alberta government had twice rejected earlier recommendations from its Endangered Species Conservation Committee to list grizzlies as threatened.
Elsewhere in the Rockies, grizzly populations have been rebounding recent decades; however fewer than 700 roam Alberta outside of Banff and Jasper National Parks. In a familiar story, it’s mostly habitat fragmentation that’s causing the decline. Residential construction, logging and energy development have divided the province’s bear population into increasingly isolated small groups. Read more.
The circle of life
Finally, the Topeka Capital-Journal recently published a lengthy outdoor feature on the dynamics of bears and moose populations in Alaska, where wildlife officials estimate that predators, including bears, will kill about 80,000 of the moose calves born this spring. In most areas, bears kill more calves than wolves.
The article also explores the predator-prey relationship in other areas, including Nevada, where state officials recently authorized more hunting of mountain lions and coyotes in order to increase the deer population. Read the whole story here.
Filed under: Colorado Division of Wildlife, Environment, Summit County Colorado, wildlife Tagged: | Aspen, bears, conservation, grizzlies, polar bears, Summit County Colorado, Summit County News, wildife