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Grizzlies can thrive if reunited in Northern U.S. Rockies

Reconnecting grizzlies in the Northern Continental Divide with isolated groups in Yellowstone will help both populations thrive, says Y2Y.

MEDIA RELEASE | Oct. 23, 2017

Reconnecting grizzlies in the Northern Continental Divide with isolated groups in Yellowstone will help both populations thrive, says Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y).

A paper released this week in the journal Ecosphere shows several connectivity areas that could serve to reunite more northern grizzlies to Yellowstone’s population. Y2Y has and continues to work at restoring on-the-ground connectivity and this science is a vital road map to this important work.  

With recorded sightings of grizzlies this summer showing the gap between populations in Montana and Yellowstone National Park is smaller than ever, the potential for gene flow is likely greater now than it has been for many decades. 

The paper and study, titled: “Potential paths for male-mediated gene flow to and from an isolated grizzly bear population”, supplies several models to reunite these two key populations and provide greater resiliency for the Yellowstone grizzlies.

“Ensuring genetic connectivity of the currently isolated Greater Yellowstone grizzly bears is insurance that Yellowstone grizzlies can thrive now and in the future,” says Dr. Jodi Hilty, president and chief scientist for Y2Y.   

“Large landscape conservation and ensuring connectivity for grizzly bears and other wildlife throughout the U.S. Northern Rockies is an essential part of the Y2Y vision,” says Kim Trotter, U.S. program director for Y2Y.

Y2Y has been working on securing connectivity across the Yellowstone to Yukon region, including increased security for three different corridors identified by wildlife biologists in a region known as the Cabinet-Purcell Mountain Corridor, linking the northern U.S. with Canada.

This includes but is not limited to making sure animals can move throughout the landscape without conflict with humans and ensuring public lands are managed with the needs of people and wildlife in mind.

Background:

Read the paper and the related press release.