BOZEMAN – As part of ongoing effortsrequired under the Endangered SpeciesAct to monitor the population of grizzly bears in the Yellowstone Ecosystem, the U.S. Geological Survey, in conjunction with Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, is working to inform the public that pre-baiting and scientific capture operations are once again about to begin within northwestern portions of the Custer Gallatin National Forest and private lands, south of I-90, in Montana. Biologists with the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team (IGBST) will begin the field captures June 19 and continue through August 31. Capture operations can include a variety of activities, but all areas where work is being conducted will have major access points marked with warning signs. It is critical that all members of the public heed these signs.
Research and monitoring of the grizzly bear population is vital to ongoing recovery and management of grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. In order to attract bears, biologists use natural food sources such as recently road-killed deer and elk. Potential capture sites are baited with these natural foods and if indications are that grizzly bears are in the area, culvert traps or foot snares are used to capture bears. Once captured, bears are handled in accordance with strict safety and animal care protocols developed by the IGBST and approvedby the U.S. Geological Survey.
Whenever bear capture activities are being conducted for scientific purposes,the area aroundthe site will be posted with bright warning signs to inform the public of the activities occurring. These signs are posted along the major access points to the capture site. It is important that the public heed these signs and do not venture into an area that has been posted. For more information regarding grizzly bear capture efforts call the IGBST trapping hotline at 406-994-6675.
Information about the grizzlybear research and monitoring program is available from the IGBST website: https://www.usgs.gov/science/interagency-grizzly-bear-study-team