New WGFD Bear Management web page goes live
by Dennie Hammer, Cody Region Information & Education Specialist, Wyoming Game & Fish
August 20, 2009
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has unveiled a new grizzly bear management web page on the department’s web site. The new page provides up-to-date information on grizzly bear conflict, research and education efforts, including weekly updates on bear management activities in Wyoming.
To access the page go to the WGFD web site at http://gf.state.wy.us. Once there under the "What’s New" section, click on "Grizzly Bear Management".
"The grizzly bear management program in Wyoming can be broken down into three broad categories, which include our efforts to reduce human-bear conflict, to understand grizzly bear population demographics and educate the public," said Dennie Hammer, Cody region information and education specialist. "This new web page is a big step in providing those who follow grizzly bear recovery with timely information on our grizzly bear management program."
Reducing human-bear conflict is a significant challenge for the Game and Fish. "Over the past five years, 443 human-bear conflicts, involving both black and grizzly bears were reported in Park County which averages over 80 conflicts per year," Hammer said. According to Hammer, conflicts include bears obtaining human food rewards, getting into bird feeders, causing property damage and aggressive encounters with people.
The department’s trophy game research branch works with black and grizzly bears and mountain lions. The branch collects a great deal of information on the grizzly bear population in Wyoming’s portion of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. "Annually, they capture bears and fit them with radio collars. Collared bears provide information on movements, birth rates, cub survival, habitat use, denning periods and vital information used in population estimation," Hammer said.
Information and education outreach has long been a priority with the department. "For nearly 15 years our agency has been promoting coexistence with bears through information and education," Hammer said. "We are making a difference." Hammer organized and coordinated the first "Living in Bear Country" workshop in 1995 and currently leads the "Staying Safe in Bear, Lion and Wolf Country" seminar effort that provides Wyoming communities with information on how to stay safe while hunting and recreating in large predator country.
The web page (http://gf.state.wy.us/wildlife/grizzlymanagement/index.asp) also contains links to Wyoming’s bear identification test, Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team reports, Wyoming’s Grizzly Bear Management Plan and Occupation Guidelines, Final Conservation Strategy for the Grizzly Bear in the Yellowstone Ecosystem, Center for Wildlife Information and a number of technical documents.
Grizzly bear management authority was turned over to the department when grizzly bears were removed from the Endangered Species List in April 2007.