A grizzly in balsamroot. Photo: Kent Nelson

JACKSON, Wyo. — Wyoming Wildlife Advocates (WWA) is sharing tips for safe grizzly bear viewing and how homeowners can bear-proof their properties. WWA informs, educates and empowers communities to preserve our wild legacy, protect our shared wildlife and modernize wildlife management across the state.

Our wildlife in Teton County and statewide faces many challenges. Every day, those challenges become greater as the area experiences an increase in both visitors and residents and pressures on wildlife mount. We are working hard to ensure that wildlife have a voice and they are heard in management decisions. Unafraid to back down from the most controversial issues, we fight for healthy, balanced ecosystems that include a full suite of our native carnivores.

“No animal should be considered a “predator” and treated only as a pest. Our grizzlies, wolves, foxes, coyotes, and other native species not only provide ecosystem services that benefit humans; they also have a right to exist as individual beings. We use education, advocacy, and litigation to ensure these species have a right to fulfill their ecological roles. Together we can be heard,” states Kristin Combs, Executive Director for WWA.

Elk sparring. Photo: Kent Nelson

“We’re saving our critical native species one day at a time. We fight to protect grizzlies from being needlessly killed by trophy hunters. We work to stop the hunting of wolves so they can fulfill their beneficial role in our ecosystem. We advocate phasing out feedgrounds so elk are protected from illnesses spread in close contact. We do this by education, advocacy, and litigation.”

WWA envisions a Wyoming that leads the nation in exceptional and innovative wildlife management; all stakeholders are valued equally, and management decisions are driven by the best available science. As stewards of some of the most pristine wild habitats in the world, WWA believes that ecosystems must be managed to maximize biodiversity. Science, not politics, should guide management.

Grizzly with cubs. Photo: Kent Nelson

Teton County Grizzly Protection

The most famous bear in the world, Grizzly 399, is once again outside of the park boundaries. She needs your help to keep her and the four cubs safe. Grizzly 399 is smart and can find her way around human-dominated landscapes quite well, however, if she begins to rely on human-provided food, she’s likely to teach her cubs how to look toward humans for food which is bad news for everyone involved. The simple procedures described below can ensure that bears can live alongside us and continue to stay wild and not rely on unnatural food sources.

Tips to keep a bears safe property:

  • Use electric fencing around beehives, chicken coops, gardens, and compost piles
  • Remove bird feeders or hang them at least 10 feet off the ground and 4 feet away from the tree or pole – this includes hummingbird feeders
  • Use a bear-proof trash can or store trash cans inside a structure until the day of pickup
  • Don’t overfill the can, if it doesn’t fit, save it until next week or take it to the dump
  • Feed pets inside – store pet food inside
  • Store livestock grain inside
  • Pick fruit from fruit trees and shrubs
  • Store BBQ grills inside or clean well after use
  • Remove all salt and mineral blocks from your property
  • Slow down to 45mph at night and be alert for reflections of eyes on the side of the road

Tips for ethical wildlife viewing and photography:

  • View from a safe distance – 25 yards from all wildlife, 100 yards from bears
  • Pull completely off the road – all four tires on the right-hand side of the white line
  • Don’t approach or feed bears
  • Don’t throw trash or food waste from a vehicle
  • Always be respectful of wildlife. You’re a guest in their home. Keep quiet – don’t slam doors, shout to get their attention or intrude on their space
  • Stop to let bears cross the roads
Photo: Kent Nelson

When in the park or on public lands do not let bears obtain human food. Secure coolers in a car and don’t leave picnics unattended.