Thursday, September 28, 2006

Grizzly bears survive in Colorado?

The grizzly, Ursus arctos horribilis, was officially extirpated from the state of Colorado in the 1950s. A few years ago, I wrote a paper for the Colorado-Wyoming Academy of Science arguing that sighting reports indicated a few bears were hanging on in the southwestern quarter of the state, though I didn't think a viable population was indicated. Now a sighting by hunters near Independence Pass, concerning a female with two cubs, has been considered credible enough by the Division of Wildlife that a helicopter was sent to conduct a search. SO far, no supporting evidence has been collected, but the story could have major implications for other "extinct" or unconfirmed animals. If it turns out we missed 800-lb predators in Colorado, what else might be out there... ?


anderson said...

The Division of Wildlife closed its books on the grizzly in 1982, after concluding it was unlikely that grizzlies survived the decades of being killed by ranchers protecting their herds. Because of habitat issues, its unlikely grizzlies could migrate here from Yellowstone Park. Thus, as implausible as it may seem, if grizzlies remain in Colorado they are most likely longtime survivors of a reclusive, remnant population. Bask field refused to discuss what could happen if a grizzly’s presence is confirmed.


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Matt Bille said...

Thanks for the input. May I ask what "bask field" is? Thanks, Matt Bille

veny dawson said...

It is really a matter of concerning for state. Bears population is going down rapidly. I think the report of sighting a bear in a near by area is very interesting news for some agencies.
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