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  • Writer's pictureYELLOWSTONE IMAGES

Updated: Feb 17, 2020

Grizzly Bear 399 and her two cubs - spring 2019

The Yellowstone Ecosystem

The Yellowstone Ecosystem is approximately 22 million acres in magnitude. Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks make up part of this ecosystem. Yellowstone National Park is approximately 2.2 million acres (1/10 the size of the ecosystem) and Grand Teton National Park is about 310,000 acres (1/7 the size of Yellowstone National Park).

This Ecosystem host a variety of wildlife including one of the seven grizzly bear habitats in the contiguous United States. Here is this ecosystem, grizzly Bears are research. Bears are collared and ear-tagged in order to learn about its physical characteristics (age, DNA, physical condition, sex, battle scars, etc.) and to follow a bears behavioral patterns over most likely a two year experiment. The bear then automatically drops the color but still supports the ear-tags unless they somehow have either removed the management tools themselves or lost them in battle with another bear. The collar has to types of receivers. One records the GPS location of that bear and by using a computer, one can view where this bear has been since the collar was attached to its neck area. The other receiver allows biologist to track a bears current location with a radio antenna while driving around near the bear's location.

In 1998, Grizz 399 actually damaged the electrical connection to her GPS apparatus and park biologist could only determine her whereabouts via using the radio antenna. She eventually dropped her collar and currently is in her den without one.

According to WY F & G, there are about 740 (+ or -) grizzly bears in the Yellowstone Ecosystem. That would allow almost 30,000 acres to each bear. But bears congregate where the available food sources are each month, some sows with cubs are found in locations deemed safe for them and boars (males) can be found chasing these sows around during May/June (the prominent months for mating). So much of this ecosystem is used by bears sparingly.

And because of their concentration in specific areas, WY F & G and other entities have falsified the need to hunt these bears because we have too many. The Federal courts deemed them deceitful and not only stopped this hunt with three months to spare but also placed the bear back on the endangered list.

More about grizzly bears and our iconic ones, including 399 in the posts ahead.

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