JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Even though grizzly bears are now delisted and management authority of the species has been returned to the state, “very little has changed,” says the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. WGFD has always been very involved in the management, monitoring, and research of the bears, the agency stated recently in its monthly newsletter.
Game and Fish personnel continued to conduct the annual summer grizzly bear observation flights in the Wyoming portion of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE). The Department uses observation flights (along with many other techniques) to monitor grizzly bear abundance, distribution and reproduction in the GYE.
The flights allow the methodical documentation of female grizzly bears with offspring and provide data used for annual population estimates. The Grizzly Bear Flight Units encompass the Demographic Monitoring Area and provide a birds-eye view of where bears go about their business, as well as provide ancillary information to managers on animals such as moose and other ungulates. These observation flights are the epitome of collaboration and cooperation, with regional biologists and wardens strapping in to help with the flights while allowing for another perspective of their management area.