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grizzly bear family, photo by Roger Hayden

Image © Roger Hayden - all rights reserved

Frequently Asked Questions

How many bears are there in Greater Yellowstone and are numbers increasing?

According to the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team, there are 670-750 grizzly bears, but the population has not grown since 2002, and in fact has probably been declining since 2007.
See - Trends in Conflicts, Mortalities and Populations


Is the Federal government’s science on grizzly bear numbers reliable and accurate?

No. Independent scientists have demonstrated that the science used by the government to estimate bear numbers and make claims about recovery is unreliable and biased.
See - The Numbers Game


What are the biggest causes of grizzly bear mortality?  

The leading causes of mortality are conflicts with elk hunters and livestock operators, most of which are avoidable.
See - Trends in Conflicts, Mortalities and Populations
See - License to Kill or Coexist


Grizzly bears are still being routinely killed as a result of becoming hooked on garbage and human foods, but sanitation has much improved.
See - Success Stories


Is grizzly bear mortality increasing?

Yes. Grizzly bear mortality has been increasing over the last decade, while population size has not. In 2015, a record-high and unsustainable number of grizzly bear deaths were reported.
See - 2015 Record Breaking Year for Bear Deaths


Is the Yellowstone grizzly bear population scientifically recovered?

No. The grizzly bear population in Yellowstone is too small and isolated to be considered recovered.
See - Problems Posed By Delisting


But, there is still enough habitat to restore a connected population or 2,500 or more grizzly bears in the Northern Rockies.
See - We Need and Can Have More Bears
See - Expanding Horizons for Recovery


How healthy is the Yellowstone Ecosystem for grizzly bears, and are conditions changing?

The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is unraveling as a result of climate change and invasive species. In the last ten years, two key foods, whitebark pine and cutthroat trout, have been effectively lost to grizzly bears.
See - Climate Change


Government agencies are denying the problem, claiming that all substitute bear foods are equal when in fact they are not.
See - Food Fight: the Debate Over Grizzly Bear Foods


Are the states of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming prepared to manage grizzly bears if federal protections are removed?

No, the states have demonstrated hostility to large carnivores, including grizzly bears and the problem will worsen after federal oversight is removed after delisting.
See - The Problem of State Wildlife Management 


The post-delisting plans and Conservation Strategy are voluntary handshake agreements, rather than legally binding plans.
See - Don't Delist, Risk Yellowstone Grizzly Bears' Future


The states lack the resources to do it right, and post delisting plans have no committed funding. The annual $5-million post-delisting funding needed to support management and monitoring is voluntary.
See - The Price Tag of Grizzly Bear Delisting


What does the public think of the delisting proposal?

In seven previous public comment processes related to delisting and state plans, the public vigorously opposed delisting and hunting grizzly bears, and supported stronger protections.
See - Public Opposition to Delisting


You can find excerpts of public comments on the 2007 delisting rule here:
See - What People Said About Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Delisting


Delisting: a bad idea

Yellowstone’s grizzly bear population is still not recovered! Yellowstone’s population of roughly 750 grizzly bears is completely isolated from all other grizzly bear populations and much smaller than the 2000+ animals widely considered necessary for long-term viability. 

Agency Spin

Read a summary of the key claims of being made by government scientists and managers, and a  response to each. its necessarily long due to the complexity of the issues presented. But its worth understanding what is really going on.

Food Fight

In 2009, federal endangered species protections were restored for the Yellowstone grizzly bear population in response to a court ruling that found that the government had failed to evaluate the effects of the collapse of whitebark pine, a key staple for the population. In 2013, the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team (IGBST) issued a report, “Response of Yellowstone grizzly bears to changes in food resources: a synthesis”, that concluded that whitebark pine was not essential for recovery of the Yellowstone grizzly bear.  REALLY IGBST??

Public Backs Bears

In the public processes related to management of Yellowstone grizzly bears during the last two decades, the public has come out swinging for bears and their habitat. 

Read about it here...

What the People Say

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), over 850,000 comments were submitted on the 2016 proposal to remove endangered species protections (“delist”) the Yellowstone grizzly bear.  Over 99% of those comments opposed delisting.  

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