September 20, 2021

Grizzly Bear Conflicts On The Rise

grizzly bear

Grizzly bear conflicts have been far more prevalent in 2010 than previous years according to experts. Image by tvvoodoo.

2010 could be a record year for Wyoming when it comes to grizzly bear conflicts involving humans. To date, this year, there have been 251 conflicts according to Mark Bruscino, the bear management program supervisor for Wyoming Game and Fish.

“I’m guessing this is going to be one of our highest years (at least) since we started tracking them in 1989,” Bruscino said. Although the count won’t be officially released until January, there’s no question grizzlies have been very active this year.

Of the conflicts recorded for this year, not all are face to face encounters with a grizzly bear. They include situations where grizzlies attacked and killed livestock as well as property damage.

Already this year, two people have died from grizzly bear attacks in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. This includes the first death in 25 years according to Bruscino.

“It’s a highly unusual event,” Bruscino mentioned in regard to a grizzly bear injuring a human. “Grizzly bear threats are pretty minor ones when compared to other things that can happen to you in the outdoors like exposure or hunting accidents.”

The big question is why bears are showing up in places where humans are more this year than normal. One of the big reasons is the grizzly population is growing, as is the human population. This naturally pushes the two closer to the same space creating more opportunity for conflict.

The winter was also mild, impacting the natural food for bears. This has caused a number of grizzlies to wander to lower elevations in search of food.