Yellowstone grizzly bear investigations: Annual report of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team, 2003

Annual Report
Edited by: Charles C. Schwartz and Mark A. Haroldson

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Abstract

The contents of this Annual Report summarize results of monitoring and research from the 2003 field season. The report also contains a summary of nuisance grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) management actions.

The study team continues to work on issues associated with counts of unduplicated females with cubs-of-the-year (COY). These counts are used to establish a minimum population size, which is then used to establish mortality thresholds for the Recovery Plan (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [USFWS] 1993). A computer program that defines the rule set used by Knight et al. (1995) to differentiate unique family groups is currently under development. Once complete, we intend to use it to verify the accuracy of the rules using known bears and their telemetry locations in test runs. We hope to have this work complete by summer 2004.

The grizzly bear recovery plan (USFWS 1993) established mortality quotas at 4% of the minimum population estimate derived from female with COY data and no more than 30% of the 4% (1.2%) could be female bears. Simulation modeling (Harris 1984) established sustainable mortality at around 6% of the population. We used the latest information on reproduction and survival to estimate population trajectory in the same simulation model originally used by Harris. A Wildlife Monograph has been drafted and submitted for consideration as a publication. We anticipate final word sometime during winter 2005.

Our project addressing the potential application of stable isotopes and trace elements to quantify consumption rates of whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) and cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki) by grizzly bears was completed. Our manuscript on consumption rates of whitebark pine has been published (Canadian Journal of Zoology 81:763-770). A copy can be found on the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team (IGBST) website http://www.nrmsc.usgs.gov/research/igbst-home.htm. The manuscript on fish consumption is in final review and should be published in 2004.

We began a new study in Grand Teton National Park evaluating habitat use both temporally and spatially between grizzly and black (Ursus americanus) bears. We will employ a new form of Global Positioning System (GPS) technology that incorporates a spread spectrum communication system. Spread spectrum allows for transfer of stored GPS locations from the collar to a remote receiving station. We tested 2 collars during the fall of 2003 and provide a summary of the results. We will attempt to deploy several of these collars during the 2004 field season.

The annual reports of the IGBST summarize annual data collection. Because additional information can be obtained after publication, data summaries are subject to change. For that reason, data analyses and summaries presented in this report supersede all previously published data. The study area and sampling techniques are reported by Blanchard (1985), Mattson et al. (1991a), and Haroldson et al. (1998).

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype Federal Government Series
Title Yellowstone grizzly bear investigations: Annual report of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team, 2003
Series title Annual Report
Edition 2003
Year Published 2004
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Contributing office(s) Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center
Description 65 p.
Country United States
State Montana
Other Geospatial Yellowstone National Park
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N