Posted by: Loren Coleman on November 24th, 2007
This file photo shows a grizzly bear moving through the brush in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. (Courtesy: Yellowstone National Park)
In September 2007, a black bear hunter “mistakenly” shot and killed a grizzly bear in the “rugged Idaho terrain near Kelly Creek about three miles from the Montana border,” according to the Associated Press.
The 450-pound male grizzly killed by the unidentified hunter on Labor Day, September 3rd was shot in the North Fork of the Clearwater Drainage about 20 miles north of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness boundary and within the 25,000-square-mile Bitterroot Experimental Population Area. It was the first grizzly bear verified since 1946 on the Idaho side of the 5,700-square-mile Selway-Bitteroot ecosystem in central Idaho and western Montana.
Genetic testing on the bear that was killed found it’s likely a descendent from a population roaming in northern Idaho’s Selkirk Mountains. Biologists say the bear migrated 140 miles south and crossed two major highways to explore the northern fringes of an ecosystem experts have been expecting bears to discover on their own for years.
Due to that, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks will be using motion-sensitive cameras and special fur grabbers to catch hair that can be examined for DNA in a massive search for grizzlies.
The agencies plan to search a 5,000-square-mile area for grizzly bears in north-central Idaho and western Montana next summer. The last time the area underwent an extensive survey for grizzlies was in 1991 and 1992. This year’s proposed survey would likely start in May if snow levels allowed access, and continue through September 2008.
The $60,000 Idaho grizzly search must still be funded.
Meanwhile, in August 2007, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a 185-page draft plan aimed at “staving off the extinction of the ivory-billed woodpecker,” based on the one confirmed sighting from the 2004 Arkansas videotape. (Famous bird book author David Sibley has publicly questioned the findings of the Cornell University researchers, which hold this is an ivory-billed and not a pileated woodpecker. ) The plan recommends spending $27 million (all federal dollars) on “recovery work” in Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, South Carolina and Texas.
Concepts for pursuits planned are not necessarily quests that are funded, but they usually are if proposed by these agencies.
Meanwhile, remember, you never can tell what you might find when you go looking for other things. Just ask Jim Martell.
The world’s first recorded polar bear-grizzly bear hybrid sits mounted in the Idaho home of hunter Jim Martell on January 12, 2007. DNA tests demonstrated that the bear, which was shot in the Canadian Arctic last year, had a grizzly father and a polar bear mother.
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