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Grizzly Bear Linked To Two Fatal Maulings in Yellowstone National Park Killed By Rangers


A grizzly sow linked to two fatal maulings of hikers in Yellowstone National Park has been killed by rangers, and her two cubs have been placed in an educational zoo outside the park, Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk announced Monday.

The 250-pound sow, estimated to be six or seven years old, was tied to both the mauling of Brian Matayoshi, of Torrance, California, on July 6 and that of John Wallace, of Chassell, Michigan, in late August.

While Mr. Matayoshi's wife witnessed her husband's mauling, Mr. Wallace was hiking alone on the Mary Mountain Trail and no other hikers witnessed his death. However, DNA tests on bear hair and scat samples collected from the scene where Mr. Wallace's body was found on August 26 matched the sow, the superintendent said.

In the first mauling, a review board concluded that the sow was acting defensively in attacking Mr. Matayoshi. But without witnesses, park officials couldn't explain why Mr. Wallace, 59, was attacked, or even if the sow had killed him.

“We will more than likely never know what role, if any, the sow might have played in Mr. Wallace’s death due to the lack of witnesses and presence of multiple bears at the incident scene,” said Superintendent Wenk.  “But because the DNA analysis indicates the same bear was present at the scene of both fatalities, we euthanized her to eliminate the risk of future interaction with Yellowstone visitors and staff.”

A small number of grizzlies had been trapped by park biologists since Mr. Wallace's body was found so they could be DNA tested. After hair samples were taken for testing, the bears were released wearing radio collars so they could be tracked and, if necessary, recaptured if a match was made.

The female grizzly was captured last Wednesday, September 28.  Her two cubs were captured the next day and placed in the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone, Montana.  

The sow was euthanized on Sunday morning, October 2. She was not relocated to the Discovery Center with her cubs, park officials said, because (A)dult bears that are removed from the wild do not adapt well to captivity."

In the case of Mr. Wallace's mauling, park officials determined that at least nine grizzly bears were feeding on two bison carcasses in the area, including one carcass that was located 150 yards from where Mr. Wallace was hiking alone on the Mary Mountain Trail. Seventeen bear “daybeds” were also found in the same vicinity, they added.

Park officials plan to continue capture operations, reconnaissance flights, and DNA sampling and testing through the fall to determine whether any other grizzlies were involved with Mr. Wallace's death.  Any future management decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis for any additional bears that are captured and provide a DNA link to the scene, they said.

Yellowstone hosts over 3 million visitors a year, with an average of just one bear-caused human injury a year. To the best of anyone's knowledge, this is the first time in the park's history that there have been two fatal bear attacks in one year. Since the park was established in 1872, there have only been seven recorded fatal maulings, according to park officials.


It is sad that the three could not have been relocated to the extremley back country. I say this because of not knowing all the facts, were the cubs present, and caused this? I realize that humans and bears don't mix. I could be all wrong, in my life I have been to Yellowstone 16 times the last two including this summer very little wildlife and NO bears. Something has sadly changed.

The NPS is at it again killing what Nature thought was critical to protecting ones cubs from human
danger.  It's like the NPS wishes a Disneyland for Yellowstone bears: if you're aggressive, we eliminate you
from the genepool.  Why not close trails and inform visaitors, "Hey, enter at your own risk" like you do
each day you drive; we treat DUI drivers who have killed better.  So, let's do our homework by reading:
[color=#333300]"Bearman's" Yellowstone Park Information[/color][color=#0000ff]©Kevin Sanders[/color]
Don't let the grizzlies' 'glass' go emptyby Lance Craighead - *Opinion* Idaho Falls Post Register

  Regarding current discussions about delisting the grizzly bear in the Lower 48 states, and the apparent disagreement between biologists, activists, conservationists and others: I'd like to share my perspective on this issue. It's like the story of the two Zen philosophers discussing a glass of wine. One says that the glass is half empty, the other says that it is half full. One is optimistic and the other pessimistic. The current situation with grizzly bears is sadly, superficially, similar.
  If we view all of North America as a glass with grizzly bears in it, the first thing we discover is that the Zen philosophers have poor eyesight. They're not sure what the current level in the glass actually is. In addition, someone has already drunk a lot of the wine, and they aren't sure quite how much there was to start with. The optimist (who favors delisting) says that the glass is half full. The pessimist (who favors keeping the grizzly bear on the Endangered Species List) says that the glass is three-quarters empty. The optimist thinks that the glass originally was overflowing and it looks to his uncertain sight that the level is now near the middle. The pessimist thinks the glass was once close to full, but now most of it has been emptied. Smudges on the glass and poor eyesight make it hard for either one to see clearly; this is analogous to the difficulty of counting how many grizzly bears are actually here now.
  If we focus the discussion on the Lower 48 states, which is the legal arena in which the delisting argument takes place, the disagreement becomes amplified. The same uncertainty over the original conditions exists. One of the philosophers (the optimist) is extremely near-sighted. He thinks that the glass is 2 percent full, and may actually be increasing to 2.2 percent. He is so close to the actual wine in the glass that he has lost sight of how much there once was, and from his magnified perspective it looks like plenty. The other philosopher can see it from farther away. He thinks that it is 98 percent empty, and that whether it is 98 percent empty or 97 percent empty is not a significant issue. From his point of view it is almost gone.
  Both philosophers are fond of wine, and bears, and would like their descendants to be able to look into the glass and share its beauty. Both would like to put a little more wine in the glass so that it is in less danger of evaporating and will last for a longer time. The optimist thinks that 2 percent full is OK though and that he can relax. It means that he has done his job well. His superiors will probably reward him if he can convince them to see it his way. He thinks that some day he may be able to make a pilgrimage to Alaska where the glass is much fuller. He may even get to take a sip of it there. The pessimist sees the loss of most of the wine in the glass as a failure on his part, and on the part of the optimists who are charged with saving the wine. He knows the glass will never be even close to full again, but he wants to be certain that it does not get any lower than it already is. He wants to do everything possible to ensure that things don't get worse. Keeping the grizzly listed is the only way with legal safeguards to do this.
  You can carry this analogy to additional lengths, e.g., some of the philosophers think wine is evil and that we should dump it all out; some are wine lovers and want to fill the entire glass again. Most of us Zen philosophers I think feel that being able to look at what's left in the glass (or even just knowing that there is a glass with a little wine somewhere) is a human right and a privilege. We wouldn't want to be the one responsible for letting the wine evaporate. I think you can get the picture. We should therefore protect the last few drops of wine as carefully as possible. Lance Craighead - Opinion*Idaho Falls Post Register 1999.

It's sad that this bear had to be put down.  It really does sound like it was caught in a situation where some tourists did not use sound judgment (hiking alone, not carrying bear spray, or running away) has led to not only tradegy for those involved, but also for the bear and her cubs.

The Rangers should not of killed this sow.  Expecially without evidence.

In defense of the NPS decision, I'm sure it wasn't their preferred alternative but I believe it was the only decision they could have arrived at in the present culture.  NPS gave the Griz as much of a pass as they could the first time given the apparent natural protective reaction the bear displayed with her cubs present.  Once the bear apparently killed twice I think it unconscionable to not make the hard decision to put it down.  It's sad that the first situation might have led the Griz down that path but I believe the Rangers could not have done anything else.  What would the reaction be if one of your own loved ones was killed and eaten and then finding out the bear had killed twice before?  

So, NPS utilizes DNA Griz Bear Research to both preserve and destroy an endangered species ?
 [color=#810081] [/color]Permanent Address: [color=#810081][/color] [color=#0000ff]Coco Ballantyne[/color]  | Friday, February 8, 2008 | [color=#0000ff]12[/color]

 GRIZZLY AND CUB: Since 1975 Montana grizzly bears have been listed as a threatened species by the U.S. government. Image: iStockPhoto Paul Tessier
Advertisement Republican presidential hopeful John McCain is a well-known critic of frivolous government spending otherwise known as pork: those pricey projects that legislators routinely—and surreptitiously—slip into appropriations packages to benefit their own districts and bring them coveted votes. But scientists charge that an important study of grizzly bear DNA has gotten caught in the crosshairs as the veteran Arizona lawmaker attempts to showcase his creds as a crusader against wasteful government spending.
It is unclear why McCain, who has taken a firm stand on some other environmental issues—he believes more needs to be done to curtail global warming—considers the research to be a waste of time and money, and his press office did not respond to repeated e-mails and phone calls for comment. Yet, he is apparently so "outraged" that he takes a dig at it in a campaign TV spot in which an announcer declares:
"233 million for a bridge to nowhere. Outrageous… Three million to study the DNA of bears in Montana. Unbelievable… A million dollars for a Woodstock Museum—in a bill sponsored by  Hillary Clinton​. Predictable… Who has the guts to stand up to wasteful government spending? One man. John McCain."
Currently the front-runner for the GOP nod, McCain also hits the research in speeches on the stump, cracking jokes about bear paternity tests and criminal investigations. "I don't know if it was a paternity issue or criminal, but it was a waste of money," McCain railed last month during a campaign stop in Clawson, Mich. Scientists, however, are not amused: They insist that the study is not only worth every penny but that the $3-million price tag cited in the ad is, in a word, wrong.
In fact, Congress over the past five years has forked over a total of $4.8 million to study the genetic material of Montana's grizzly bears, according to Katherine Kendall, a research biologist at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Kendall heads the Northern Divide Grizzly Bear Project, which is aimed at obtaining the first accurate population estimate of grizzlies living in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem—eight million acres of land in northwestern Montana that encompasses Glacier National Park and the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex.
"This is not pork barrel at all," says Richard Mace, a research biologist with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP). "We have a federal law called the Endangered Species Act and [under this law] the federal government is supposed to help identify and conserve threatened species."
The grizzly has been listed as a threatened species since 1975 and scientists say that it is essential to get a handle on the population to preserve it. But, according to Kendall, until the feds decided to invest in this grizzly bear DNA study, researchers lacked the funds to conduct research at the scale necessary to get a reliable measure.
In 2002 Kendall assembled a scientific panel with representatives from the USGS, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and FWP, along with other scientific and environmental organizations to determine the best way to measure the remaining grizzly population of the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem. It recommended setting up barbed wire hair-snagging stations to painlessly pluck fur from passing bears that would be used for DNA fingerprinting, a technique employed to distinguish individuals of the same species by the differences in their genetic material. This is the only way to accurately estimate population in such heavily forested terrain, where bears are difficult to spot, says Chris Servheen, a grizzly expert with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
In response, the USGS set aside $250,000 to launch the Northern Divide Grizzly Bear Project; the next year, Congress stepped in to provide additional funding, and from 2003 to 2007 appropriated $4.8 million to the effort, Kendall says.
She notes that her team of 250 scientists and researchers set up hair-snag stations at thousands of locations throughout the grizzly habitat, some as far as 30 miles (50 kilometers) from the nearest road. These wire setups do not harm the bears in any way, Servheen says: "It's no more than running a comb through your hair."
The team collected 34,000 samples of bear hair over a 14-week period in 2004, which it sent over the border to the Wildlife Genetics International laboratory in Nelson, British Columbia. By extracting and analyzing DNA in the strands, researchers were able to pinpoint the species (grizzly or black bear), gender, and individual identity of host bears. It took two years to analyze the large swath of samples and another to compile the data and conduct statistical analyses to estimate the size, distribution and genetic structure of the population as well as summarize the findings, which Kendall says she hopes to publish in a science journal by summer. (She refuses to reveal the results prior to publication.)
But numbers are only part of the story. Scientists say they also have to figure out how the population is changing to determine how to protect it. Toward that end, the Montana state government four years ago launched a $250,000 per annum effort to monitor grizzly population trends (separate from, but complementary to Kendall's study on population size), according to Mace, who is in charge of that project.
"There are no answers yet," he says, noting that it is too early to tell whether the population is increasing, decreasing or if it remains unchanged since 2004. But researchers are optimistic they will be able to fashion effective preservation measures once they have a better idea of [to vary] the population size—thanks to Kendall's study—and a solid understanding of trends.
Still, for many Americans who have never seen and probably never will see a grizzly bear, the question remains: Why should one bear population merit millions in taxpayer money?
The reason, grizzly expert Servheen says: the bears are a threatened species. He estimates that only about 1,500 still reside in the 48 contiguous states, compared with some 50,000 before the arrival of Europeans in the 15th century (a 97 percent population decline). The once far-reaching grizzly habitat, which stretched from the Mississippi River to California and ranged north to south from Alaska to Mexico, is today restricted to four western states: Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, and Washington. In these states, only two populations—those living in and around Yellowstone National Park​ and in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem—number more than 50 bears and offer hope for long-term viability, Servheen says.
So is forking over huge chunks of change to protect grizzly bears "unbelievable"—or a joke—as McCain charges?
No way, scientists and environmentalists say. Protecting wildlife is expensive, but grizzlies are priceless, says Louisa Willcox, director of the Wild Bears Project for the National Resources Defense Council. "Grizzly bears are a symbol of our frontier past—of untamed wilderness," she says. "Lewis and Clark saw them eating buffalo carcasses on the American plains."
Not only are grizzlies "treasures of United States history," Servheen says, but they help us understand how effective our conservation efforts are. Despite their ferocious reputation, he notes, grizzlies are exquisitely sensitive to human activity and can only live on the wildest tracts of land. "They are an indicator of the health of ecosystems," he says, and they emblematize "the preservation of wilderness, which is becoming rarer every day."

Chapter 6 On Supposedly Preserving Nature ? in the National Parks
The Anti-Science Superintendency of Jack Anderson, YELLOWSTONE
vs  Censorship: The Public's Right to Know

[color=#999966]Science and the Struggle for Bureaucratic Power: The Leopold Era, 1963—1981[/color]
[color=#0000ff]122[/color][/url]] However, focused more on ungulates, the report had not analyzed bear management in detail, leaving it essentially open-ended as to manipulation or natural regulation. The decision to close the dumps brought the Service into conflict with the recommendations of John and Frank Craighead, biologists (and twin brothers) who had been studying Yellowstone's grizzlies intensively since 1959 and were recognized as the world's leading experts on this species.
The Craigheads (who were not Park Service scientists) believed that if certain precautions were not taken, closure of the dumps would threaten the grizzlies' survival in the park. They judged that since late in the previous century, when garbage dumps had first attracted grizzlies, development and use of once-primitive lands in and adjacent to the park had possibly reduced the bears' natural food supplies below what was necessary to support a viable grizzly population. But the Park Service overrode this argument. Although it had no systematic population survey of its own, it asserted that the Craigheads had underestimated the number of grizzlies in the park, and that the bears had survived in the area for millennia and could continue to do so. [[color=#0000ff]123[/color]]
The dispute narrowed to whether the dumps should be closed suddenly or gradually. The Craigheads argued that a gradual, monitored closing would give the grizzlies time to adjust and thus have less impact on their population. Entwined with this concern was the factor of human safety— whether the dispersal of bears seeking food after a sudden closing would be a greater threat to campers and hikers than after a gradual closing. All parties were keenly aware of the August 1967 incidents in Glacier National Park when, on a single night and in widely separated areas, two women were mauled to death by grizzlies. These remarkably coincidental killings had brought pressure on the Service to reevaluate its bear management. After first trying gradual closing, Superintendent Anderson concluded that a quick closing was safer for both humans and bears. In the fall of 1970, he abruptly announced that the last big dump—at Trout Creek, south of Canyon Village—would be shut down. [[color=#0000ff]124[/color]] Following this decision, the controversy shifted to a kind of grim, competitive watch, with both sides counting population figures year to year to see how well the grizzlies survived.
Underlying the disagreements was the question of scientific research to enable the park to make informed management decisions on the grizzlies. Since Stephen Mather's time, the Service had used the availability of outside scientists as a rationale for not strengthening its own research capability —an attitude still pervasive in the late 1950s when the Craigheads began their studies. Indeed, their research funds (ultimately more than a million dollars) came from a variety of sources, including the National Science Foundation, National Geographic Society, Philco Corporation, and Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife. The Park Service did not support the Craigheads substantially, covering only a small fraction of the cost, much of it in the form of staff and logistical support. Work space in an unused mess hall was provided by the park concessionaire. [[color=#0000ff]125[/color]] Operating with limited Service support, the Craigheads' studies became what was at that time the most in-depth natural-history research ever conducted in a national park.
Still, an acrimonious debate arose over the Craigheads' progress in publishing their research and whether the information they made available was adequate to determine the effects that dump closure would have on the grizzlies. Rejecting the Craigheads' recommendations and asserting that their research did not address the specific concerns at hand, Superintendent Anderson closed the last dump. As had happened for decades— including the termination of the elk reduction program—the Park Service made a key management decision with little scientific information of its own. [[color=#0000ff]126[/color]]
The disagreements intensified the fractious professional and personal differences that had arisen between the Craigheads and certain park staff. Early in the research project, the relations had seemed cordial and supportive. But in Frank Craighead's opinion, after Anderson's and Glen Cole's arrival in the park in 1967, the situation became increasingly "characterized by mistrust, suspicion, and . . . hostility." Part of the problem stemmed from the Craigheads' use of the public media. Even before beginning their Yellowstone research, the brothers were well-known naturalists—a "glamour family within the wildlife establishment," as one writer put it. Their grizzly bear studies attracted even greater attention, giving them a public platform from which they at times criticized park management. [[color=#0000ff]127[/color]]
Park management's attitude toward research (and toward the Craigheads themselves) was clearly revealed when the Craigheads requested permission to continue monitoring the dispersal of the grizzlies following final closure of the dumps. This involved tracking the animals by means of multicolored tags, which the researchers had attached to a large number of bears (as well as some elk) for identification and tracking purposes. Their request, coming at the height of acrimony between the two sides, was rejected by Superintendent Anderson, who characterized the colored tags as an unwanted intrusion into the natural scene. Supported by biologist Cole, Anderson rejected the Craigheads' request and ordered that the tags be removed from any bears captured by park rangers for management purposes, thereby thwarting research use of the tags. [[color=#0000ff]128[/color]]
The superintendent asserted that the public had complained about the colored tags, pointing out to John Craighead that there had been a "great deal of comment from the park visitor attempting to photograph the wildlife in their native habitat." Anderson believed that the tagging had "reached the point where it detracts from the scenic and esthetic values," and he wanted as many tags as possible removed by the time of the Yellowstone centennial, to be celebrated in the park in the summer of 1972. Thus, the park's excuse for obstructing this final aspect of the Craigheads' research was based on the claim that the tags, in effect, decreased public enjoyment of Yellowstone. The National Academy's 1963 report had specifically recommended that the Service "avoid interference with independent research which has been authorized within the parks," citing problems that had occurred in Mammoth Cave and Shenandoah. Chaired by Starker Leopold, a science advisory committee that met in the park in September 1969 had urged that the "response of [the bears] to the elimination of garbage" be studied. Yet to Anderson and Cole, the colored ear tags on an elusive animal rarely seen by the public were an intrusion on the natural scene and had to go. The park had effectively blocked the bear dispersal research. [[color=#0000ff]129[/color]]
Anger and discord surrounded this celebrated conflict over the grizzlies, and a cloud of uncertainty and distrust still remains. Reflecting on the controversy more than a decade after its onset, Nathaniel Reed, who as assistant secretary of the interior had been a close observer of the dispute, voiced his opinion that "mistakes have been made" and "neither the Craigheads nor the Park Service have a perfect record." The Service's actions were, however, more crucial than those of the Craigheads, because it had the legal responsibility and decisionmaking authority to safeguard the public trust through ensuring survival of Yellowstone's grizzlies. [[color=#0000ff]130[/color]] In making its decisions, the Service rejected the advice of internationally recognized experts who had studied the bears for more than a decade. The Craigheads estimated the grizzly population to be fewer than two hundred and believed that the dump closure increased the risk that the bears would become extinct in the park. During the first two years after closure, approximately eighty-eight grizzlies were killed in or near Yellowstone, mainly to ensure human safety. Even with this number slain, the grizzlies survived; but in Frank Craighead's opinion, there had been "very little margin for error." Indeed, in 1975, shortly after what had been by far the most intensive killing of grizzlies in the park's history, the grizzly was placed on the list of threatened species, pursuant to the Endangered Species Act. [[color=#0000ff]131[/color]]
In the push toward natural regulation and in a concern for safety, the Park Service had been in a sudden hurry with grizzly bear management. It seemed compelled to change a feeding policy that had existed for nearly a century, during which time it had had ample opportunity to conduct its own research on the bears but had neglected to do so.
The Service began to expand its knowledge of the grizzlies in 1973 with the initiation of a bear monitoring program. That same year the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team was created to undertake long-term scientific studies; it included biologists from the Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service, and the state governments of Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. The 1975 listing of the grizzly as a threatened species triggered a close evaluation of the bears' critical habitat and the development of a "recovery plan" for the species. [[color=#0000ff]132[/color]] Grizzly habitat had already been recognized as including expansive tracts of lands surrounding the park, an area constituting the central portion of what came to be called the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The Craighead studies and the grizzly bear controversy helped spawn a coordinated approach to management of this species by federal and state agencies. Although the disagreement and controversy did not end, through extensive research the new approach sought to improve understanding of the grizzly and how it might best be managed.

Wonder how many grizzly cubs will end up in places like this ?

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