Some days later, a large spectacled bear picked up the smell of ripe flesh. The animal, a male, followed the scent trail down from its high cloud forest habitat and spent several days feasting on the carcasses—treasure troves of protein and fat for an animal that lives mostly on vegetables, fruits and tubers. The event, seemingly just another day in the high Andes, where bears and cattle have crossed paths for centuries, would spiral into one of the most problematic sagas now affecting relations between local indigenous communities and the endangered spectacled bear.
“That was the first time he ate beef,” says Andres Laguna, a Quito-based biologist with the Andean Bear Foundation who has been studying and resolving matters of bear-human conflict for several years. “Then, a few weeks later, he killed his first cow.”
The male bear, Laguna says, quickly gained an irresistible taste for flesh and embarked on what has become an unstoppable and possibly unprecedented rampage of killings. The animal, which Laguna has nicknamed “Yachak”—the indigenous Quechua word for “wise man”—has now killed about 250 head of livestock in the northern provinces of Carchi and Imambura since his first taste of domesticated flesh. Months at a time do go by when the bear vanishes, but other times Yachak kills wantonly. In one week in 2012, for instance, he killed seven head of cattle.
Many local ranchers would be perfectly glad to see Yachak dead, and unknown individuals have broken federal law in attempts to kill him. But Yachak, believed to be more than 15 years old, remains alive while, instead, about a dozen innocent bears have lost their lives to the bullets. Laguna says several bears have been shot from treetops while peacefully eating bromeliads, colorful epiphytic plants like jesters’ hats with starchy bulb-like hearts. Amid such lawless unrest, it’s clear that Yachak has compromised relations between conservationists and the people who live on the fringe of Ecuador’s dwindling bear habitat—and the conflict brings forth the question that wildlife managers in many places have to ask at times: Would the species be better off without this individual?
In Montana, grizzly bears—a threatened species—are regularly culled from the population when they become habitual sheep or cattle killers. Mike Madel, a Montana bear conflict management biologist in the region known as the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem, calls killing bears “the worst part of my job.”
But, he says, it’s essential.
“It’s so much better in the long run for social acceptance of the bears to remove the problem bear from the population,” Madel explains. “You just have to weigh the negative social influence that one or two bears that are killing cattle can have on an area. Just one bear, if you let it keep killing livestock, can cause dissention and cause people to start talking negatively. It can really drag down an entire recovery program.”
In the late 1980s, when the grizzly population of northwestern Montana was crawling back from its historical low of about 350 in the 1970s, two grizzlies—a male and female living side by side for the short mating season—began killing cattle together. When the pair separated, they still wanted beef.
“All of a sudden, we had two bears killing livestock,” remembers Madel, a 30-year veteran in his field. The female was relocated and successfully turned back onto a natural diet. The male, however, after a relocation effort, traversed the 150 miles back to the cattle country where he’d been trapped. Nicknamed the “Falls Creek Male,” the bear resumed killing—and did so for years. By 2001, this individual grizzly had killed more than 60 cows, Madel says, and incurred costs on ranchers topping $70,000. Other sources inflated that figure to as high as $200,000.
The ranchers of the region had been supportive of the grizzly population—even happy, Madel says, to see it rebounding.
“But after a while, they were irate,” he says. “This bear was really setting back the conservation effort.”
In 2001, the bear was finally trapped and euthanized. The animal’s advanced age and poor health—including severely worn teeth—made the decision to put it down an easy one, Madel says.
But the bear situation is very different in Ecuador. Here, the population of spectacled bears is not rebounding, nor is it holding steady. Rather, it is shrinking, recoiling from the expanding human population and the cattle herds that encroach further and further into the high country every year. Just 3,000 spectacled bears remain in all of Ecuador, and perhaps just 18,000 throughout their range, from the southern Panama isthmus to Argentina. Leading bear experts worry that the species might be extinct in 30 years.
Only several dozen spectacled bears may live in the mountainous bear country on the north slope of the 18,996-foot Volcán Cayambe, and Yachak, one of just two breeding males in this population, according to Laguna, is too valuable to his kind to kill.
“From the conservationist point of view, it is not acceptable to lose this bear,” Laguna says. He even wonders if eliminating Yachak from the population would make space for younger males to move into the region and begin causing similar problems.
Almost every weekend, Laguna makes a four-hour trip from Quito to the bear country near the border, either to retrieve the memory cards from a pair of motion-detecting cameras or to locate newly reported bear kills and place his cameras on nearby trunks. Laguna’s cameras have identified 36 individual bears in the region, each with distinctive facial markings like goggles.
Laguna’s fieldwork also involves working with local ranchers, hearing their complaints and listening to their bear-related tribulations. These meetings often take place informally by the side of the road, with sweeping views of Andean valleys and high treeless tundra leading up to the slopes of Cayambe. It is precisely these highlands into which cattle herds have been expanding in recent years as more and more local farmers switch from producing sugarcane and avocados to raising animals for milk and cheese. As this shift occurs, conflicts with bears will only increase, Laguna predicts, whether or not Yachak is removed from the population. Laguna fears that, unless peace is attained between bears and ranchers, the spectacled bear will be gone from these mountains within ten years.
Laguna, often accompanied by several colleagues, has frequently explained to ranchers that their actions—edging their cattle into the cloud forest—are ultimately causing the strife between them and the bears. Laguna says deadly incidents between spectacled bears and livestock are almost always the result of poor herd management—not a propensity of the bears to kill.
The Andean Bear Foundation has urged farmers to keep their animals to the pasturelands surrounding their villages. Also on the table is an idea to develop an ecotourism economy in these mountains, based, chiefly, on the opportunity for visitors to pay to see a spectacled bear.
“But we have no facilities, no infrastructure, for tourism” says Asencio Farinango one afternoon in late January, during a stand-around discussion in a field beside the Quechua man’s home. Farinango is a rancher. He is also the unofficial mayor of the rural communities surrounding the central village of Mariano Acosta, set in a valley of sugarcane and fruit trees and flanked by steep mountain slopes. In this area, about 15 families have been affected by rogue bears. Farinango himself has only lost livestock to pumas (they were alpacas), but he relays to Laguna the frustration of those whose cows have been killed.
What Farinango says is true: There is no money to be made at the current time from tourists. The area is only accessible via a network of dirt and cobblestone roads so bumpy that area residents hitchhiking between village and home could nearly be tossed from the bed of a pickup truck. There are no lodges here, or even campgrounds—and there has been no publicity or advertising. Moreover, the likelihood of seeing a wild spectacled bear is miniscule. Laguna has visited these mountains almost every weekend for three years since he joined the Andean Bear Foundation; only ten times has he glimpsed a free-moving animal.
Farinango says ranchers nearby who have lost cattle to bears have asked local officials for assistance or reimbursement. The government, Farinango says, “is unconcerned and hasn’t responded.” Yachak, meanwhile, has killed nearly $150,000 worth of animals,
Laguna believes the most favorable option for ending Yachak’s killing bender is to catch him—if possible—fit him with a GPS collar, and keep him under constant surveillance. Six other bears known to occasionally kill livestock will, hopefully, be similarly tracked. This strategy, though laborious and cumbersome, should allow hired guards with dogs to respond when problem bears are detected approaching cattle and harry them back into the woods. By watching the bears’ movements—or lack thereof—they also hope to see that the protected animals are not killed by local vigilantes.
But Yachak has so far proven too sly to enter a baited box trap or place his foot in a cable snare—both methods that Laguna and many other researchers have employed to capture, then tag and release, bears. This isn’t surprising to Madel, who says old male grizzlies can be extremely difficult to capture. Even if a problem bear is trapped, and a radio collar secured around its neck, such animals can be very resistant to reconditioning back to a natural diet. Then, there is the possibility that the bear will manage to remove its collar. The Falls Creek Male did exactly this in the late 1980s after its first capture, Madel says, and thereby paved the way for years and years of unseen attacks on cattle herds.
Madel is firm in his opinion that, if Yachak is captured, he should be euthanized. Madel says he would feel differently if Yachak was a female. Dominant males, he explains, are quickly replaced by subordinates when the older animals die. Female bears, quite literally, carry with them the future of their species.
“If they’re killing [livestock] animals, we give females three chances before we euthanize them,” Madel says. Toward males, state trappers are less patient. “We give them one chance, or no chance.”
On February 4, in his most violent outing to date, Yachak kills four cows and injures two others, bumping up his appalling tab by several thousand dollars. It’s a devastating loss for a country family that earns only several hundred dollars per month, largely from milk sales—and Yachak, it appears, is now killing for sport.
Another daunting problem has also arisen—something Madel says he has never heard of among grizzlies but which Laguna has verified through his motion-triggered cameras and from information provided by witnesses: A resident female bear has taught her cub to kill. Together, the pair took several cows during the young bear’s upbringing. Now, the adolescent male, 20 months old, has left his mother’s care and gone into the future not only with a taste for beef but also the skills to get it. Laguna says he believes keeping the cattle herds out of the high country would be the surest, fastest fix to the matter.
European Brown Bear Compendium Livestock.Bear predation on livestock is by far the most widespread conflict (Table 2). Although all species such as cattle, horses, goats and semi-domestic reindeer can be killed by bears, depredation on domestic sheep is the most serious and widespread conflict. Losses vary widely throughout Europe (Kaczensky 1996) depending on husbandry techniques. At the extreme end ofthe spectrum is Norway, where sheep are grazed without supervison in forest habitats during summer. A total of 15-30 bears kill 3000 - 4000 sheep each year (around 100 sheep per bear per year). At the other end are countries in southern and Eastern Europewhere sheep are constantly guarded by shepherds and guarding dogs. Losses rarely exceed 5-10 sheep per bear per year. This illustrates that while the potential for bear-livestock conflicts is enormous, there are established methods to minimise it using traditional husbandry techniques (Linnell et al. 1996). Modern solutions such as electric fencing are also used successfully in countries like Sweden.
Southwest Alberta ranchers losing cattle to grizzly bears t appears some southern Alberta cattle producers are facing an extra challenge this spring.
Dozens of ranchers claim their calves have been killed by grizzly bears.
“It’s getting to where the bears are getting bolder,” said Calvin Walper, strolling on his Twin Butte property where he’s encountered nearly a dozen bears, recently losing five-to-six head of cattle per year. Advertisement
“In the fall they’re a little smaller,” Walper said. “Being a 600 lb. animal, a bear can take them to the bush over there and feast on it.”
The problem isn’t exclusive to this ranch.
Fish & Wildlife officers say at least nine cattle in southwest Alberta have been killed since mid-April, with several others missing.
“It’s the combination of such a late green-up, not much fruit for the bears, and such a high density of grizzly bears between Twin Butte and Waterton,” said Perry Abramenko, who helps oversee the Pincher Creek district.
Walper claims the grizzlies are getting so accustomed to human contact, they’re coming within three metres of his family’s home. In one instance last year, two bears were found lounging where the family parks their vehicles.
“The dog started barking so we went outside, and here we have two bears just hanging out as if it was their yard as well,” said Walper.
Trapping is one form of controlling the grizzly population. When ranchers see a bear on their property, they’re warned to call wildlife officers right away.
“We come on-site to work the rancher to mitigate these conflicts,” said Abramenko. “Whether it’s helping with securing the attractant or removing the offending bear and helping them protect their livestock.”
If the bear isn’t caught in the act, says Walper, evidence of a conflict is tougher to come by, which means a producer may not be compensated for losing livestock.
“Our hands are tied,” he said. “There are bears being trapped, but where do they take them?”
“We can’t just keep taking problem bears and giving them to someone else because it’s a problem.”
Bears continue to be a problem for southern Alberta cattle producers Rolling hills specked with cattle is a common site in the Twin Butte area, but unfortunately so is carcasses of half eaten calves.
Ranchers like Clint Marr are continuing to struggle with bears in the area.
“I came upon a calf within minutes of being attacked. His shoulder blade was exposed, ripped down the side,” says Marr. Advertisement
“Looking at the injuries on the calf; it’s confirmed that it is a bear, most likely a black bear, given the types of injuries I saw but it’s possible to be a grizzly bear as well,” says District Fish And Wildlife Officer Perry Abramenko.
This isn’t the first calf Marr or his neighbors have lost to bears, A number of confirmed attacks have been reported. “The whole heard is nervous and frankly the ranching community is too.”
Fish and wildlife officers are doing what they can to help ranchers protect their herds.
“There is a high density of grizzly bears in this area. We got projects on the go such as calf bin carcass collection, ranchers are very diligent in checking there herds and reporting anything that is unusual,” says Abramenko.
Marr says its not uncommon to see up to 6 bears in one morning while checking cows, and he’s worried the bears will become more aggressive. Related Stories
Southwest Alberta ranchers losing cattle to grizzly bears
Grizzly troubles for cattle producers
“There is a self preservation concern, you worry about your family and your neighbors,” says Marr.
Fish and wildlife are trying to prevent those encounters, asking residents to be diligent in deterring bears.
“If you’re living in bear country, bird feeders are big trouble We did have an adult grizzly bear come into an acreage yard last week and demolish a bunch of bird feeders,” says Abramenko.
The Twin Butte and Waterton district was one of the last areas you could hunt grizzly bears, but over the last decade that has changed that now no grizzly bears can be shot in the province.
“We are over run with bears in this south west corner of the province and they are becoming boulder and as ranchers we would like to see a small regulated hunting season reinstated so we can get rid of some of the bad bears,” says Marr.
Next to last of grizzly 399F’s adult cubs killed By Ralph Maughan On July 19, 2013 · 181 Comments · In Bears
Put down for eating too many cattle-
Grizzly bear 399′s next to last adult cub 587M has been killed by Wyoming officials for killing cattle in the upper Green River 40 miles southeast of Jackson, Wyoming. That leaves only 399′s equally famous adult cub, bear 610F alive.
For those who have been in the upper Green River downstream from the Bridger Wilderness, it could be one of the prettiest places on Earth and an American Serengeti. However, every summer thousands of cattle are put into the scenic area. Every summer, grizzlies, black bears, coyotes, wolves are killed because they can’t resist eating some of the overly (artificially) abundant bovines. Elk, moose, and pronghorn are crowded off to the side, though not killed directly.
Some people thought that 399′s cubs would get into trouble because they were raised in Grand Teton National Park in view of thousands of people. Three of her five cubs were killed directly by people — this incident, one hit by a car, one killed illegally by a hunter (a big controversy a while back). One died naturally as a cub. 610F is still alive, having raised a number of cubs of her own.
Grizzlies 399 and 610, plus their cubs, have been the subject of many local news stories because they have lived in relatively small Grand Teton National Park, often inhabiting places visible to many people. Folks can find many photos of them on the web.
587M wasn’t the only grizzly to be shot on behalf of cattle ranchers in the upper Green River area this summer. Two others (females) have already been shot as well.
Taste for beef kills cub of grizzly 399 Biologist says cub’s troubles not due to his upbringing near people.
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Grizzly 399 and her three cubs huddle together in May 2007 in Grand Teton National Park. Of the 2006 litter, it is believed that only bear 610 is still alive. Bear 615 was killed illegally by a hunter, and 587 was killed for repeatedly killing cattle. THOMAS D. MANGELSEN / COURTESY PHOTO
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By Mike Koshmrl, Jackson Hole, Wyo. July 17, 2013
In the days before he was killed by wildlife managers, the cub of famous Teton grizzly 399 was doing what his mother taught him to do: kill easy-to-catch ungulates.
The problem was that bear No. 587 was killing cattle. Chronic livestock depredation was the cause of 587’s demise.
It was a trait the bruin exhibited beginning not long after he was pushed away by his mother in 2008.
When 587 went on a cattle-killing spree on a herd grazing in the Upper Green River drainage the first week of July, it was one episode too many, said Zack Turnbull, carnivore biologist with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s Pinedale office.
“He killed cattle in 2010, he killed sheep in 2010, he killed cattle in 2011,” Turnbull said. “He killed nine or 10 or more cattle in a three- or four-day period this year.”
As a cub growing up roadside in Grand Teton National Park, 587 watched his famous mother key in on the abundant, tasty elk calves during springtime. It’s that learned behavior, interestingly enough, that may have led to 587’s fatal taste for beef.
“From my understanding, that Upper Green River country has an abundance of elk,” said Steve Cain, chief biologist for Grand Teton park, “and the bears that go in there feed on the elk calves. As the elk calves become too old for bears to catch, the cattle come on with their calves. It’s a make-sense shift in the diet of the bears.”
Since June 30, two other grizzlies, both females killing livestock in the Green River drainage, have also been killed.
Grizzly 587 didn’t get into trouble because of run-ins with people, Cain said. In his two-plus years in the park, the bruin never raised a single red flag.
The year he split from his mother, 587 was trapped and moved. He loitered in the Pacific Creek subdivision, Game and Fish biologist Mike Boyce said.
“He was frequenting a residential area,” said Boyce, who conducted the relocation. “He spent a lot of time in the subdivision around homes.”
Residents of the neighborhood said 587 was guilty only of being there.
“The bear wasn’t doing anything wrong,” said Mike Lavin. “We see the bears all the time. We live right in the middle of their territory, in my opinion.”
One of Lavin’s neighbors, however, was new to the valley and was anxious about 587. That person contacted Game and Fish.
“They’re definitely afraid of bears, that particular neighbor,” Lavin said. “At that time they were fairly new to the neighborhood.”
After Boyce live-trapped 587, fitting him with a tracking collar, he dropped him off near Grassy Lake Road. Bear 587 stuck around the northern portion of Grand Teton, dropping his collar that fall on the west shore of Jackson Lake.
Fall 2008 was the last time wildlife photographer Diana Stratton took pictures of 587.
“The last time I saw him that last year he was feeding at a gut pile and another grizzly came up and he was just terrified,” Stratton said.
Stratton remembers 587 as not being at all afraid of people, but also not menacing. Once a photographer friend of her s got a little too close and was no worse for it.
“This person saw the bears coming up from the river,” Stratton said of her friend. “There were two of them. One was 587.
“The bears came out on the road right beside him, and just walked right by him,” she said. “They kind of looked at him a little bit, but that was it.”
After 2008, the bruin went out of sight for a couple years.
Bear 587’s next known encounter with people was in 2010, when a cowboy saw him killing a calf in the Tosi Creek area of the Upper Green. State biologists trapped him and dropped him back in the Pilgrim Creek drainage in Grand Teton, but he didn’t stick around.
The next year 587 again found himself in trouble with livestock, Turnbull said.
After the latest incident, much consideration went into the decision to kill 587, said Dan Thompson, Game and Fish large carnivore regional supervisor.
“We do everything we can to let bears be bears,” Thompson said. “It’s unfortunate.
“It’s the worst part of our job when we have to remove an animal from the population,” the biologist said. “This was what had to be done.”
Bear 587’s death raises questions about allowing bears to roam roadside areas and become used to people. In Glacier National Park, some bears are chased from roads by rangers.
Cain characterized the park’s current bear management, which tolerates roadside bears, as “an experiment.”
Of the six cubs from grizzly 399’s 2006 and 2011 litters, it’s likely that just two are still alive. One is bear 610, 587’s sister. The other is a 2-year-old cub that 610 “adopted” from her mother when it was a cub of the year.
Three of 587’s siblings are believed dead. His other sister, 615, was killed illegally by a hunter. Photographers believe the 2011 cub “Brownie” was the bear killed by a vehicle barreling off of Highway 89 last summer.
The other cub from the 2011 litter is suspected to be dead after it separated from its mother a year earlier than usual.
The state doesn’t like the idea of grizzlies becoming familiar with people.
“Habituation towards people and the roadside bear situation, it’s not something that we’re supportive of,” Thompson said. “It obviously shows that they may be more prone to getting in trouble in the future.”
Bears being habituated to humans and acquiring a taste for livestock are two different things, Cain said. No other “Grand Teton” bears are known to have been put down for killing cattle after leaving the park, he said.
“Clearly in the case of 587, this bear went on to become a wild bear,” Cain said. “The fact that he was a cattle killer had nothing to do with his upbringing.
“There’s no information or studies ... that connects a habituated, non food-rewarded bear with a higher tendency to kill cattle,” Cain said.
After trapping 587 on July 7, Turnbull did what he was ordered to do.
“Starting off a day off killing a grizzly bear is about the worst way you could start a day,” he said.
The body of 587 was transported to a Dubois taxidermist, where it was skinned in preparation for tanning.
Come next summer, 587 stands to once again be gawked at by thousands of tourists.
The mount of the bruin will go on display at the Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum, said Sharon Kahin, the museum’s executive director.
“I had asked Game and Fish to keep an eye out for us for a grizzly bear,” Kahin said. “They said it was a beautiful specimen.
“It’s a bear that Jackson Hole thinks of as their own,” Kahin said, “and it will be used for educational purposes.”
Post by brotherbear on Aug 9, 2013 11:17:06 GMT -9
Bear 587 will be mounted alongside other animals that illustrate the interactions of Native Americans and the natural environment.
The American Indians allowed the natural predators to feast upon deer and bison. They understood that grizzly bears kill to eat and did not punish them for doing what is natural for them. The grizzly was not in the wrong; it's our society.
Paleopathology of brown bears (Ursus arctos, L. 1758) from Liptovská Mara, Northern Slovakia
Abstract During the archaeozoological investigations in Liptovská Mara, 13 bones belonged to brown bear skeleton were identified. The materials were analysedmacroscopically in order to determine the presence of the pathological bone changes. Moreover, X-ray imagination and microscopical analysis of the dental root cross-sections were done. The age of animal was estimated to 10-15 years. The pathological changes in periodontal area (chronic periodontitis) and in the metacarpal bones (hypertrophic bone formations) were described. According to accessible literature, archaeological and archaeozoological investigations results in the above-mentioned site, the bears from Liptovská Mara were killed, because of their potential attacks on domestic animals herds.
Discussion The brown bear is the largest and strongest carnivore in the Middle European environment (Saco and Valkenburgh, 2004). Modern brown bears have an omnivorous seasonal diet, but about 30% of the digested food comes from meat, though the amount of meat eaten varies from year to year (Mattson, 1997; Ćwiklowski and Ćwiklowski, 2011). Bears usually avoid areas of human inhabitation and live in large forests. An estimation of age, based on the histological analysis of teeth, suggests 10-15 years. The mean life-span of brown bear is 25-35 years (Ćwiklowska and Ćwiklowski, 2011), so all investigated individuals cannot be classified as an advanced age for animals living in the wild. Pathological changes observed in the metacarpal bones can be typical of an old individual or may be caused by chronic inflammatory process as a result of injury (Fig. 5) (Kitchener, 2004; Withalm, 2004; Bendrey, 2007, Bourne et al., 2010). It is clear thatthis chronic disease brings with it suffering and animal discomfort. These types of changes cause intensive pain especially during thoracic limb use. These symptoms are probably severe during humid springs and autumns. It is important to underline the fact that the brown bear’s natural behaviour includes thoracic limb usage in short distance running, climbing, hollowing and the catching and killing of its prey. Osteoarthritis as a pathological process of the locomotive apparatus has a significant influence on hunting and other food acquisition abilities. Locomotive apparatus diseases are frequently (51%) observed in old bears from zoological gardens (Föllmi, 2005). Sick animals become less active, weaker, cachectic, sleep more, climb less and are generally slower or more irritable. Interestingly, osteoarthritis in cave bears (Ursus spelaeus)living in cold damp caves in Italy was extremely rare (Capasso and Caramiello, 1999). In contrast, osteoarthrosis and osteoarthritis in cave bears from Potocka Zijalka (Slovenia) occurred more frequently (Withalm, 2004). Advanced periodontitis is described in modern brown bears. Investigations carried out on bears living in the wild in Norway have proved oral cavity status deteriorate with age. Similar results were obtained from the observations conducted in Zoos (Kitchener, 2004; Störmquist et al., 2009). Capasso and Caramiello (1999) described many oral cavity pathologies, including periodontal disease in cave bears. They posit that the above sicknesses could be one of the reasons why cave bears died out. Periodontal disease was also mentioned by Withalm (2004). Dental analysis proved the age at death on 11-15 years. The human population of Liptovská Mara in the La Tène period consisted of Celtic farmers and breeders. Analysis of archaeofaunal material suggests wellorganized and developed animal husbandry practices in this settlement. Analysis ofanimal bone remains from Liptovská Mara has proved that the hunt was not an important and frequent activity in this community. Cattle and small ruminant breeding was the main sort of animal production (Chrószcz et al., 2010). These animals were an important source of milk and wool; moreover, meat production was not the primary aim of the breeding. Sheep were probably, like today, fed in mountain pastures. It is clear that domestic animals in large groups are an easier target for predator attack than other species living in the wild. Older and disabled or injured bears could try to hunt sheep, causing counteractions from shepherds. Similar incidents take place today too (Sagor et al., 1997). There is another potential interpretation, but the injury hypothesis rather excludes it. Wild bears aged about 11-15 years are usually strong and healthy and mortality caused by factors other than human activity is extremely low in this age group (McNamee, 1997). A similar situation was described for the cave bear population in the Mokrica Cave (Debeljak, 2007). It is well known that November–March (4–5 months) represents the period of torpidity for the Carpathian population of brown bear (Micu, 1998). During the hibernation period brown bears do not eat, drink, defecate, urinate or have any physical activity (Hissa, 1997). Black bears are characterized by similar observations (Hellgren et al., 1989). In hibernating animals the loss of body mass is the consequence of the consumption of fat reserves and varies from 250 to 500 g per day, depending on the size of the animal and ambient temperature (Hissa et al., 1998a; 1998b). The main protein and fat source in the bear diet after hibernation is animal meat, especially that of ungulates (Clevenger and Purroy, 1991). It is possible that after the winter hibernation the weakened and hungry bears hunted on easy prey like domestic animals, and in this situation herders might protect the breeding flock by killing bears. If bears were special objects of hunting, the occurrence of these animal remains would be more frequent and more varied in terms of age in La Tène Liptovská Mara site. In our opinion, the bears from Liptovská Mara were killed because of their attacks on domestic sheep, and not as quarry on targeted hunting expeditions for meat. www.roavs.com/pdf-files/Issue-1-2014/35-39.pdf
LIVESTOCK INJURY AND MORTALITY INVESTIGATIONS "...Bears may chase prey for short distances then use size and strength to their advantage which may result in a struggle of relatively short duration..."
"...Below are some examples which indicate that a struggle occurred. The top two photos show evidence of a struggle found during a wolf depredation investigation and the bottom photo shows evidence of a struggle found during a grizzly bear depredation investigation..."
EVIDENCE ANIMAL WAS MOVED FROM INCIDENT SITE AND CACHING BEHAVIOR "...Bears: More variable than cougars with this behavior. May or may not carry or drag prey item away from kill site. May or may not cache prey. If prey is cached, bears will use ground debris as well as dirt and ground may appear as if it was “roto-tilled” around the prey item..." CHARACTERISTICS OF PREDATOR ATTACKS
One of the three bears was subsequently captured, and has been released along the Puzzle Creek drainage in the Flathead National Forest on the west side of the Continental Divide.
Ranch owners Dean and Kippy Schuler were first alerted to the presence of the bears Sunday night, when they were awakened in their home by their dogs barking outside.
"We looked out the window to see what was going on, and there they were right outside the house," Dean Schuler said.
This first sighting came at around 10:30 p.m. The three bears ambled through the Shuler's yard coming within five to 10 feet of the family's home, but causing no immediate problems.
Early the following morning Dean Schuler accompanied his wife, Kippy, to her car as she prepared to leave for work.
"While she was getting stuff for the car, we heard this calf just let out a blood curdling scream," he said. "It was terrible."
The Schulers ran toward where they heard the calf's cries; about 150 feet from where the Shuler's car was parked and roughly 250-feet from their house. There they discovered the same three bears they had seen the night before, attacking the calf. The body of another partially devoured calf lay close by.
"I was 50- to 60-feet away from them and they couldn't have cared less that I was there," Dean Shuler said.
The two calves had been kept in a pen separated from the rest of the cow herd. It wasn't until the mother cows came running that the bears ran off — but only momentarily.
"Just a little bit later they came back," Shuler continued. "We actually stood there and watched them for probably an hour. The three of them just took turns chewing on that calf until basically there was nothing left of it."
While Dean Schuler was able to rescue the second calf from the bears' attack, its injuries eventually forced the calves' owner, Dusty Schuler, to destroy the animal.
Wildlife biologists from the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks set culvert traps and snares in the area the following day in an attempt to capture the bears. They captured one that same day; a 1½-year-old male that weighed in at 223-pounds.
Grizzly Bear Management Specialist Mike Madel said that's surprisingly large for such a young animal.
"It does make it one of the larger yearlings that we've handled over the last 30-years or so on the Rocky Mountain Front, and by far its larger than any yearling we've handled on the west side of the continental divide in Montana," he said.
And the captured bear was not the largest of the three.
G655-YlrgMaleGBear-DentwKKuka 7-1-2014 (9)-res.jpg Through analysis of photographs taken of the three animals, biologists believe the two uncaptured bears include one male and one female. The second male grizzly is estimated to weigh at least 250 pounds.
Madel said FWP biologists have been tracking these same three bears for more than a month, since first receiving reports of them accompanied by a fourth, adult female grizzly, near Pendroy around the end of May.
"We had gotten several photographs of them over that time period from homeowners that saw them come up by their house and so forth," Madel said. "We do know that on Friday morning (June 27) they were actually wandering right through the northwest corner of Choteau at five o'clock in the morning within city limits."
FWP biologists have responded on several occasions to reports of these animals. On one occasion they damaged some beehives, and the grizzlies have been regularly inspecting people's porches for pet food and other unsecured eatables. However, up until Monday biologists had no success in capturing any of the offending grizzlies.
Madel said the two calves killed on the Schuler Ranch was the first report of a livestock depredation associated with these animals. They are likely a group of related juveniles who were only recently kicked off by their mother.
"When they're dispersed by their mother, they're on their own but they want to stay together as brothers and sisters might do — in a group," he said. "They would generally be like 12- or 13-year-old kids off on their own suddenly.
"So they're learning things and they're searching for food, because they're hungry. They've been weaned and they're no longer nursing from their mother. They're totally dependent upon themselves and each other."
Just 10-years ago it was a fairly uncommon for grizzlies to be seen east of Highway 89. However over the past decade more and more are making their way down the eastward flowing river systems and reclaiming much of their historical habitat.
Grizzly bears are becoming increasingly common in the Valier area around Lake Frances, and just last year grizzlies were spotted near Fort Shaw and well east of the Tiber Reservoir. In 2010 an adult male grizzly was captured at the confluence of the Marias River and Teton River, just north of Loma.
"Now we have bears that inhabit the river bottoms on rivers like the Sun and the Marias throughout the entire foraging year," Madel said. "I think it is really possible that sometime soon there will be grizzly bears observed close within the city limits of Great Falls."
12 ways to safeguard
your home from bears
• Avoid using bird feeders March through November; birds don't need supplemental feed at this time and bird seed is irresistable to bears.
• Human garbage is a primary bear attractant. Garbage should be stored where bears can neither smell nor gain access to it, either in a bear-proof container or inside a building.
• Grills with food and grease, as well as cooking utensils, leftovers, and used plates and cups attract bears.
• Avoid feeding pets outside at dawn or dusk when bears are most active and do not leave their food unattended at any time.
• Bears generally do not present a threat to livestock, but special caution should be taken during lambing and calving.
• A carcass may or may not be a bear attractant, depending on how clean it is.
• Beehives, honey and bee larvae are especially attractive to bears.
• Anything other than grass and leaves should not be composted outdoors. Composting meat, fish, oil, dairy, kitchen waste, melon and other fruit are all odorous and can easily lure a bear to your home.
• Bears crave fruit and vegetables. Pick fruit and vegetables as they ripen and plant your garden as far away from your house as possible.
• Use native plant landscaping whenever possible. Avoid plants that attract bears.
• Don't leave food or garbage in a vehicle or the back of a pickup truck.
• Don't put out salt licks, grain or deer blocks to attract wild animals.