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Grand Teton grizzlies trapped for study
May 27, 2014 - The Associated Press
All trapping operations are located in the back country and away from hiking trails and campsites, but the precise locations where the study team sets its traps are not publicized.
JACKSON -- Federal biologists will begin trapping and tagging grizzly bears in Grand Teton National Park this coming week.
The effort by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team is aimed at keeping tabs on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem's grizzlies.
"Monitoring of grizzly bear distribution, as well as their food selection and other activities, is vital to recovery of grizzlies across the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem," a statement from the study team said.
The grizzly trapping in the Tetons will continue until mid-October.
All trapping operations are located in the back country and away from hiking trails and campsites. The precise locations where the study team sets its traps are not publicized.
"They don't give that information out, partly because they don't want people flocking to their sites," Grand Teton park spokeswoman Jackie Skaggs said. "They've had interferences before."
In the Greater Yellowstone area, there have been incidents related to the release of recently-trapped grizzly bears.
In June 2010, a 70-year-old botanist was mauled and killed by a grizzly that hours before had been caught, tranquilized, collared and released by study team researchers near the East Gate of Yellowstone National Park. Two years later, a U.S. District Court judge ruled in favor of the government in acquitting the study team in a wrongful death suit.
In part because of the incident, the study team has made changes to its protocol for marking grizzly trapping areas.
"All sites will be posted with bright-colored warning signs around the closure perimeter," the study team's statement said. "Potential access points will also be posted with warning signs."
"All backcountry users who come upon any of these posted areas must obey the warnings and stay out of the closure area," the statement said. "It is critical that all members of the public respect these warning signs."
Skaggs said grizzly bears were last targeted in Grand Teton park either two or three years ago.
Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead is again asking the federal government to remove grizzly bears from the endangered species list.
U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell wrote to Mead in late 2013 saying she expected to make a decision in early 2014 and take final action this year.
Elsewhere, Gov. Matt Mead says in a statement that Wyoming has managed grizzly bears under federal control responsibly for years and there's no reason to wait any longer to return control of grizzly bears to the states.
The governor points out that Wyoming has worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on research that finds grizzly bears are expanding in population and range.