Climate and reproduction of grizzly bears in Yellowstone National Park




Controversy surrounds the conflicts between the requirements of human safety and the preservation of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) in western North America. It has been difficult to separate the effect of factors such as the closure of garbage dumps from that of the climate. It has also proved difficult to relate climatic data to changes in the populations of large mammals. I report here a correlation of climatic change with fluctuations in the sizes of litters of grizzly bears born in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, during 1958–1976. The decrease in litter sizes observed since the closure of garbage dumps seems to be largely a consequence of unfavourable weather during the periods of the final fattening of the mother, winter sleep, birth, lactation and early spring foraging. This study represents one of the few times that the effects of climate have been demonstrated for large omnivorous or carnivorous mammals.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Climate and reproduction of grizzly bears in Yellowstone National Park
Series title Nature
DOI 10.1038/274888a0
Volume 274
Year Published 1978
Language English
Publisher Macmillan Journals Ltd.
Publisher location London
Contributing office(s) Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center
Description 2 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Nature
First page 888
Last page 889
Country United States
State Wyoming
Other Geospatial Yellowstone National Park
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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