Federal scientists adjusted the way they estimate grizzly bear numbers and now say there are more than 1,000 of them in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Previous estimates placed the population number at a minimum of 727.
Biologists use what’s called the Chao 2 method, known to be “biased low” in determining estimates. An adjustment to that method regarding how female grizzlies and their cubs are counted triggered the new overall count.
“There are, of course, implications for the estimates. First of all, they are more accurate and less biased,” Frank van Manen, Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team leader, told the Jackson Hole News & Guide. “An important point here is that, on the ground, nothing has changed. We’re really encouraged by the preliminary findings from this work. We’re really moving into the next century with this type of monitoring.”
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation agrees with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that the GYE grizzly population is “biologically recovered” and surpassed all previous delisting criteria established by biologists and scientists. RMEF maintains grizzly bears should be delisted and state wildlife agencies should manage grizzlies just as they manage elk, mountain lions, black bears and other wildlife species.
(Photo source: Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks)