The following is portion of an article from the Casper Star Tribune:
by Mike Koshmrl, Jackson Hole News & Guide
JACKSON — Bear biologists are refraining from assigning a single reason for a two-fold increase in the rate of natural grizzly bear deaths in the Yellowstone National Park region.
Ten of the 16 grizzlies that have met their ends this summer have died of natural causes, according to data from the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team.
Historically, humans are to blame for more than 75 percent of bear deaths in the first half of the summer.
While the rate is just 37 percent this year, it is derived from a small sample size, and biologists aren’t jumping to any conclusions.
“We should be careful not to make too much of this,” said Frank van Manen, team leader for the group. “We’re seeing the typical range of conditions that we’d see with grizzly mortality.
“The fact that there were two females with cubs that were killed inflates the numbers a little bit,” van Manen said. “We’re seeing an aging of the population as well. It wouldn’t surprise me if we start to see more of these bears dying from old age.”
A major increase in natural mortality could have bearing on policy.
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Source: Casper Star Tribune
Posted by Haylie Shipp