Cody, Wyo – This year, officials with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department's Bear Management Program have participated in over 40 management captures of bears. To date this is a record. The bears they caught have been involved in a number of conflicts with humans ranging from eating grain to killing cattle.
Bear management officer, Mark Bruscino says increased conflicts aren't necessarily from a lack of other food. They stem from the successful recovery of the grizzly bear over the last 30 years leading to high numbers in the state.
According to Bruscino, a mix of programs, education, law enforcement, deterrents to bear killings as well as the grizzlies' ability to survive anywhere on anything has helped the species bounce back.
"They responded by doing what bears do and reproducing at capacity, that's slow, but they did it year after year after year and the numbers just kept coming up up up and have continued to."
Environmental groups and media outlets have cited the lack of White Bark Pine as a food source for bears this season as a primary influence on their behavior. But Bruscino says White Bark Pine is not typically available to bears until the beginning of September to late August and that this is not the first year bears have had to deal with a White Bark Pine shortage.