Heed warning signs: Grizzly trapping underway in Yellowstone

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Early season visitors to Yellowstone are being reminded that grizzly bear trapping operations have begun in and around the park. As part of ongoing efforts required under the Endangered Species Act to monitor the population of grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, biologists with the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team (IGBST) and Yellowstone National Park will be conducting scientific grizzly bear and black bear research operations in Yellowstone National Park from May 7 through July 30.

None of the trap sites in the park will be located near any established hiking trails or backcountry campsites. All trap sites will have posted warnings for the closure perimeter. Potential access points will also be posted with warning signs for the closure area. Backcountry users who come upon any of these posted areas need to heed the warnings and stay out of the area.

Team members bait and trap bears at several remote sites within Yellowstone National Park. Once trapped, the bears are anesthetized to allow wildlife biologists to radio-collar and collect scientific samples for study. All trapping and handling are done in accordance with strict protocols developed by the IGBST.

Erwin Frank Evert, 70, was killed in 2010 by a grizzly bear waking from a tranquilizer after it was trapped, sedated and studied. The unfortunate incident raised new concerns that groggy bears may exhibit aggressive tendencies toward humans. Evert’s widow sued the federal government unsuccessfully.

The Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team was established in 1973 to collaboratively monitor and manage ecosystem bears on an interagency basis. The gathering of critical data on the protected bears is part of a long-term research effort required under the Endangered Species Act to help wildlife managers devise and implement programs to support the ongoing recovery of Yellowstone’s grizzly bear population.

Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team and Yellowstone National Park staff processing grizzly bear yearlings. (NPS)

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