On April 26 the Wyoming Game and Fish Department captured and relocated a grizzly bear, an adult male caught while the department was attempting to mitigate cattle depredation west of …
On April 26 the Wyoming Game and Fish Department captured and relocated a grizzly bear, an adult male caught while the department was attempting to mitigate cattle depredation west of Meeteetse.
Because it wasn’t the individual responsible for killing cattle, a decision was made to move the bear to the Jojo Creek drainage, approximately 23 miles southwest of Meeteetse. The decision to move the bear was made in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Shoshone National Forest.
Bears considered a threat to human safety are not relocated, a Game and Fish news release stated. “Grizzly bear relocation is a management tool afforded to large carnivore biologists to minimize conflicts between humans and grizzly bears and is critical to the management of the population. When other options are exhausted or unattainable, Game and Fish will attempt to capture the bear.”
Once the animal is captured, all circumstances are taken into account when determining if the individual should be relocated or removed from the population. If relocation is warranted, the selection of a relocation site is determined taking into consideration the age, sex and type of conflict the bear was involved in as well as potential human activity in the vicinity of the relocation site.
This particular site in the Jojo Creek drainage was chosen due to the lack of human presence and ability to release the bears several miles behind closed gates. Consultation with the appropriate personnel and agencies occurs to minimize the chance of future conflicts and maximize the survival potential of the relocated grizzly bear. Bears that are deemed an immediate threat to human safety are euthanized.
Bears are relocated in accordance with state and federal law and regulation. The department continues to stress the importance of the public’s responsibility in bear management and the importance of keeping all attractants (food items, garbage, horse feed, bird seed and others) unavailable to bears. Reducing attractants available to bears reduces human-bear conflicts.
As part of ongoing efforts to monitor the population of grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department will conduct grizzly bear capture operations in areas of northwest Wyoming beginning this spring and continuing through early fall.
Department biologists plan to conduct grizzly bear trapping operations in both front and backcountry areas of northwestern Wyoming this spring, summer and into the fall. When captured, the bears will be collared, released on site and monitored in accordance with strict guidelines developed jointly by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team.
“The annual monitoring of this population is vital to the ongoing management and conservation of grizzly bears in Wyoming. Information obtained through these efforts is used to assess the status and health of grizzly bears in the ecosystem and provides insight into population dynamics critical to demonstrate the continued recovery of the Greater Yellowstone population,” the department said in the Monday press release.
All areas where trapping is being conducted will have major access points marked with warning signs and trap sites will be posted with area closure signs in the direct vicinity of traps.
“It is critical that all members of the public heed these signs,” the department warns.
— By Mark Davis