Image © Roger Hayden - all rights reserved
Here is the story of how Yellowstone Park--once the center of human-bear conflicts in the Greater Yellowstone--largely solved its problems. The Park provides an example of what can be done to coexist with the grizzly bear. Key ingredients to their success included: 1) Commitment to make human food and garbage unavailable to bears; 2) Effective public education efforts; 3) Adoption of new rules that prohibited the feeding of bears or leaving attractants available to them; and 4) Adequate law enforcement.
The press coverage of endangered species management tends to highlight conflicts. “If it bleeds, it leads.” All too rarely we read stories about people coming together to solve shared problems. But one such story related to the recovery of grizzly bears centers on the Cooke City area near the northeast entrance to Yellowstone Park.
In the aspens of Alberta’s foothills, Charlie Russell carefully positions a dead cow among some boulders. Along a low ridge near the Bob Marshall Wilderness, Karl Rappold and his wife ride horses, whistling and pushing cows and calves to higher pastures. North of Yellowstone Park, Dre Ramirez stretches polywire fencing as Ancient White Park cattle graze nearby. What do these people have in common? They are all trying to make peace between grizzly bears and cows in the Northern Rocky Mountains at a time when conflicts have been mounting.