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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

We know that Grizzlies will gather at Salmon runs and stake out a slip of land to fish from, tolerating the presence of fellow bears at appropriate pacing.............But to have 13 female Bears(and some cubs) in the last weeks of October come together near Dupuyer, Montana is unprecedented according to biologists there............The leading theory for this "bear party" is that these bears have some relationship with one another in terms of mother-daughter and possibly even grandmother connectivity................Just as we are coming to learn that the supposed solitary Puma can and will socialize periodically with other "cats", so perhaps do much more to learn about our top carnivores............A fun and exciting development for sure.

13 bears counted in grizzly gathering on Front

Thirteen grizzly bears were observed together in the foothills of Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front in what bear experts said may have been a gathering of related grizzlies.

“I don’t know if anybody has really observed that many bears together before,” said Mike Madel, a grizzly bear management specialist with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
Madel witnessed the congregation of bears in the third week of October south and west of Dupuyer on the Dan Freeman ranch, and documented the scene with photographs taken from an airplane.
Madel notified Freeman, the ranch owner, about the presence of the large number of bears on his property and also provided him with bear spray.
Dupuyer is 90 miles northwest of Great Falls.
At the time, Madel was tracking radio-collared grizzly bears along the Front, and one of the grizzlies in the group had a radio collar fitted on its neck.
“It almost seemed like a gathering of females with young who were related or familiar with each other,” Madel said.
Some of the females had young. Some were alone.
The 13 bears were bedded down in the snow in a small patch of cover.
Wayne Kasworm, a grizzly bear biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said he’s never seen that many bears in one location in Montana.
It’s possible the bears were related, he said.

These five grizzly bears were spotted 100 yards from eight other bears in the foothills of the Rocky Mountain Front south and west of Dupuyer. (Photo: Photo courtesy of Mike Madel)

“That’s at least one of the theories out there these bears have some relationship with one another in terms of mother-daughter and possibly even grandmother,” Kasworm said.
Young female bears typically adopt part of their mother’s home range when they separate, Kasworm said.
“And that’s different from males because often times when males separate from mom they go much further away from mom’s home range,” Kasworm said.
That may help explain why so many females were in one location, he said.
Food sometimes draws bears to one location, he added.
Dead bison or other animals that die in the winter in Yellowstone National Park, for example, have been known to attract several bears, he noted.
But there was no obvious source of food in the area where the 13 bears were seen on the Front, he said.
The only other place Kasworm has seen that number of bears in one location was in a photograph of bears taken around a beached whale in Alaska.
It could just be an anomaly, Kasworm said.
“Quite frankly, we don’t know for sure,” he said.
While the gathering of grizzlies is interesting, Kasworm said, “Beyond that, I don’t know of any outstanding biological significance to this.”
Female grizzly bears along the Rocky Mountain Front are beginning to enter mountain dens despite the mild weather this fall, and the bears are in good shape, Madel said.
“It was a good to excellent food year for bears, summer and fall,” Madel said.
Some bears remain at lower elevations, and FWP is responding to calls daily.
FWP is encouraging landowners not to place pet food on back porches, and to secure livestock feed and grain.
And rifle hunters in the field need to be aware that bears still are out, making proper storage of game meat essential, Madel said.
Grizzly bears along the Rocky Mountain Front are part of the growing 1,000-bear Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem population, the largest in the Lower 48. It also includes Glacier National Park, parts of the Flathead and Blackfeet Indian reservations, parts of five national forests and state and private lands.

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