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Grizzly committee spring meeting open to public

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JACKSON, Wyo. – The Yellowstone Ecosystem Subcommittee of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee will hold its spring meeting in Jackson, Wyo. on March 26 – 27. The meeting is open to the public.

Frank van Manen of the United States Geological Survey, leader of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team, will speak on a recently accepted scientific article by his team that refutes a previous article by Doak and Cutler that had critiqued the methods used by the IGBST to estimate grizzly bear population size and trend in the Yellowstone Ecosystem.

The meeting will take place at the Snow King Resort, from 1:15-4:45 p.m. on March 26, and from 8-11:30 a.m. on March 27. Time for public comments will be included at the end of each day.

The Yellowstone Ecosystem grizzly bear recovery area includes all of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, as well as portions of northwest Wyoming, eastern Idaho and southwest Montana.

The intermountain West has always been home to bears. Even in those times and places where humans tried to eliminate grizzlies, black bears were generally allowed to exist. Today, grizzly bears have made large strides towards recovery. Coupled with an ever-expanding human presence, this means the opportunity for an encounter with a bear is possible.

Knowing what bears need to survive, and what people do that can cause conflicts is important to reducing the chance for problems. Bears generally avoid humans because they have learned contact usually has negative results. Many people, however, have never had the chance to learn about bears or intentionally make choices that could put themselves or bears at risk.

Making decisions to decrease the chance of conflicts is not difficult, but it requires commitment. For those living in bear country, it means learning what attracts bears and making the needed changes to keep bears from getting into trouble. People recreating or working in bear country should learn about identifying bear sign and what to do if they encounter a bear. Making bears aware of your presence and caring bear spray should become reflex actions.

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