Cabinet-Yaak Grizzly Bear Project 2011-2013
- Estimate of Population Size: Use sign surveys and systematic hair snag stations to obtain an estimate of the number of grizzly bears in the Cabinet-Yaak Ecosystem (CYE) in northwest Montana and northeast Idaho.
- Genetic Library: Develop a genetic database for grizzly bears in the CYE to assess genetic diversity and degree of relatedness of the CYE grizzly bear population.
Grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) once roamed most of the North American continent. Habitat destruction and direct conflicts with humans have reduced their range by 99% in the lower 48 states (right, click on map for larger version). In 1975 grizzly bears were listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The Cabinet-Yaak Ecosystem (CYE) in northwest Montana and northeast Idaho is one of six recovery zones defined in the Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1993). The CYE is the fourth largest in area and contiguous to a small Canadian population. Estimates place the total number of grizzlies that remain south of the Canadian border at fewer than 1100. It is thought there are between 30-40 animals within the 2,600 square-mile Cabinet-Yaak recovery zone. For more information about grizzly bear recovery, visit the U.S. F&WS Grizzly Bear Recovery Office webpage.
The study area includes 9,850 km2 (2,433,988 acres) of grizzly bear-occupied area and encompasses the 6,765 km2 Cabinet-Yaak Recovery Zone plus 3,110 km2 of occupied range that fall outside it (Fig. 1). The eastern bounds of the study area, in northwest Montana, extend from the Canadian border south along the western shore of Lake Koocanusa to include the Purcell Range surrounding the Yaak River drainage, trend west to Libby at the confluence of Barron Creek, then southeast following the Cabinet Range's eastern valley shoulder to the study area's southern bound 15 km west of Plains. The western boundary then extends northwest, following the Lower Clark Fork River to the town of Trout Creek , trends west into Idaho to include the northeast side of the Bitterroot Range, then follows a northerly direction along the western valley shoulder of the Coeur d'Alene, Cabinet and Purcell Ranges to the study area's northern bound at the Canadian border in northeast Idaho.
The study area contains parts of three national forests (Kootenai, Idaho Panhandle, and Lolo) that include one wilderness area, Cabinet Mountains (382 km2), and one proposed wilderness area, Scotchman Peaks (356 km2). There are 2,175 km of maintained trail, 6,530 km of open roads, and 8,330 km of gated, bermed, closed, and private roads in the CYE study area. The study area is a region of diverse land use with rugged mountains in the wilderness areas surrounded by multiple-use forest lands. National forest and corporate timber lands have active timber harvest and forest management programs. The study area also includes an active silver and copper mine, two proposed silver and copper mines, and a closed vermiculite mine area (14.5 km2) that is not available for sampling due to asbestos contamination. The major valley bottoms are primarily private lands with a mix of forested and open parcels and variable density of towns, rural residences, small farms and ranches.
Update will occur soon
Genetic analysis can determine the species, gender, and unique identity of a bear using the DNA contained within their hair. Prior to DNA extraction, each hair sample is examined to identify and isolate intact follicles. Acceptable DNA extraction rates are achieved with hair samples with at least two follicles and are the standard for this project. The hair follicles (2-10) are inserted into a solution that breaks down the membrane that surrounds the DNA in the follicle. The samples are then repeatedly "washed" chemically to remove any cellular debris and then stored in a refrigerator until DNA analysis is conducted.
Specific regions (called microsatellites) in the nuclear DNA (n DNA) are amplified (copied) using an optimized polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Electrophoresis is used to separate the DNA segments alongside a standard set of DNA (DNA segments of known length). The length of the amplified DNA segments yields species, unique identity, and gender information.
Data Analysis Methods
Update will occur soon
Field Results: No results at this time. Fieldwork begins May 2011
Genetic Analysis: No results at this time.
Data/Statistical Analysis: No results at this time.
- Journal Articles
- None directly from this project at this time. For journal articles related to project methods and species refer to published articles by Katherine Kendall, and those from the Northern Divide Bear Project (2003-2008) and the Greater Glacier Bear DNA Project (1997-2002)
- View All Publications - html or pdf- (Books, Journal Articles, Presentations, Reports, Workshops, Magazine, Newspaper, Newsletter, Television, Radio, Film, Podcast Products)!a>!a>
- Project Staff 2011-2013
- Partners: This project is fortunate to have the cooperation of many partners, including state and federal agencies, a tribe, and a university. They contribute their time, effort, expertise, and communication networks to the project. They are involved with field work logistics, landowner contacts, hiring and training of field personnel, donation/use of equipment, radio communications, public outreach, and compliance issues.
- U.S. Forest Service - Kootenai National Forest, Idaho Panhandle National Forest, Lolo National Forest
- US Customs and Border Patrol
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks
- Idaho Fish and Game
- Lincoln County (MT) and Boundary County (ID)
- University of Montana
- Funding and support for this project was provided by:
- Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks
- Lincoln County (MT) ; Lincoln County RAC
- Boundary County (ID) ; Idaho Panhandle RAC
- Revett Mining Company
- U.S. Geological Survey
- Mines Management, Inc.
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection
- U.S. Forest Service
- Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund (BSTF)
- MT Dept. of Resource Conservation
- Vital Ground
- Y2Y Conservation Initiative
- Kootenai River Development Council
- Yaak Valley Forest Council
- SaveRite, Libby, MT
- Kootenai Valley Sportsmen
- City of Libby, MT
- Friends of Scotchman Peak Wilderness
- Doug Roll
- Libby Shooting Club
- Troy Shooting Club
- Stimson Lumber
- Noble Contracting
- University of Montana - Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit
- Cabinet-Yaak Grizzly Bear Project Information Sheet (pdf format): A study to estimate the grizzly bear population size in the Cabinet-Yaak Ecosystem
- Northern Divide Bear Project (2003-2008): project website
- Greater Glacier Bear DNA Project (1997-2002): project website
- Use of Remote Camera Systems: Remote video and still cameras were used to: investigate how grizzly bears, black bears, and other wildlife species respond to baited, barbed wire hair traps; bear use of naturally-occurring bear rubs, bear marking behavior, and effects of putting barbed wire on bear rubs to facilitate hair collection; how hair traps may be modified to improve detection probabilities. Use of remote camera systems to investigate efficiency of DNA-based sampling methods
grizzly bear, black bear, DNA finger printing, mark-recapture, wildlife, population, landscape scale, non-invasive sampling, conservation genetics, hair, microsatellites, polymerase chain reaction, Ursus arctos, Ursus americanus, hair snag, sign survey, genetics, Kootenai National Forest, Cabinet-Yaak Ecosystem, Montana, Idaho
Cabinet-Yaak Ecosystem, Northwest Montana