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With their population expanding, can Yellowstone grizzlies co-exist with humans?

imagine the American West 150 years ago these same imposing jagged mountains and sweeping landscapes but also grizzly bears 50,000 of them as more people move to the western frontier they killed so many grizzly bears that the species nearly became extinct by 1975 there were fewer than 1000 Grizzlies

left in the region around 140 in and around Yellowstone National Park the government plays them on the endangered species list and over the next 42 years their number more than quadrupled this first time I've been here this years I don't know I've just heard this is the place

the fact that that we've had a successful recovery of there's grizzly bear population in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem from a biological standpoint it says something about us as a nation the fact that we have been willing to recover an animal that is so powerful that it actually can

kill us do you see them from there they're at the top of food chain they're the dominant animal in the in the food chain here they're incredibly important in the circle of life and so to delete them leaves a huge void and we want to be everywhere humans

want to be all over the place and so learning how to live in harmony with them is probably the best way to keep an intact an ecosystem Yellowstone Grizzlies have thrived so much in fact but in July they were removed from the endangered species list and as their

numbers have grown so is their geographic footprint outside the park making them more likely to come in contact with people so given this expansion can the two coexist some of that becomes more of a societal question to question I guess it has to do with tolerance and it

has to do with where where do we want to see bears becomes real Steve Prem is a conservationist working to come up with ways to help people and bears live near each other we work with quite a few ranchers trying to prevent conflicts with large carnivores and it

can be pretty challenging based on what the setting is there's kind of some rolling hills around there you won't know those cattle or anywhere around this we'll send the dog it'll disappear and 10 minutes later they'll come back little herd of stairs we work with a lot of

innovative ranchers who are willing to try different things like livestock Guardian dogs like temporary fencing like flattery or specialized herding techniques such as keeping the cattle or sheep bunched up together so that they're less less vulnerable to predators that way Prem is focusing more on areas hundreds of

miles outside the park that are just beginning to see signs of these bears conservationists hope that soon the Yellowstone population can reconnect with other grizzly populations a way to improve gene pools and keep the species healthy and this is one of the regions they'll have to travel through

to do that in order for them to really be secure over centuries from now they need to be reconnected to two other grizzly bear populations so they could function as part of a much larger population than what the Dean Peterson's ranch is just outside of Jackson Montana about

200 miles from Yellowstone about a year ago a camera captured an image of a grizzly near his land it's gonna happen whether I like it or not it's gonna make it harder for me as a rancher any place to have bears dead livestock is a brawl and anybody

who runs livestock has dead livestock I mean anytime there's a free meal they're opportunists they're gonna take that opportunity away and he doesn't know that difference we're doing one of my cows and an elk he don't care he just wants to survive and if I were a bear

I'd want to survive too so I can't I can't hate him but I will say that you know the bigger the predator the harder is for agriculture to live with it but I'll survive it we'll deal with it we'll find ways to deal with it in a temporary

fence to keep everything except Badgers out of the piles is still here and one of the ways Peterson is dealing is by sending dead livestock to a compost pile instead of letting carcasses brought on his land which can attract predators and we just as spring started composting livestock

down here by wisdom and I think that's a initial step in a good step but there's a lot of things you can do and I'm sure there'll be more new ideas come along as we go Bern's group also tries to work with hunters hunters can't currently target Grizzlies

but they are more likely to encounter them than most people I've heard a few stories that were a father silenced at one time and they went out neighbor just walked it through Cal talk and then the Grizzly come charging and they had all the stuff to spray but

he was panicked and he didn't know what to do he just like dropped his bow and everything and the bear actually come about ten five yards from and and just beard off you know hunting inherently involves people sneaking around quietly looking for game and you know you're not

going to get yourself within shooting range of an elk if you're making a lot of noise and clapping your hands to scare bears away you're gonna scare our telco way too so there's just a lot of potential for conflicts there with with Grizzlies and hunters prim encouraged is

carrying bear spray to repel them his team is also building fair poles taller than the ones these hunters are using so they can keep their carcasses out of bears reach you know so that bears can't bear pole is a very low-tech way of keeping bears from getting into

things they oughta not be getting into if you've got something in the backcountry you don't want bears getting into it could be an elk carcass that you've just killed it could be pet food garbage your camp food you throw a rope over this log that's hanging between two

trees and oyster duck that's what a bear pole is just need to get that those attractants at least ten feet up off the ground and four feet out from anything that a bear can climb up on to and reach out and try to hook that that item but

for now it's up to the hunters to decide whether to use the poles just a good start I mean I think people are seeing us building them you know they're seeing them up here this is the ninth one we've done since Monday whether anybody comes out makes it

mandatory for them to use them is going to be a different story but you know that that's that's something that will need to evolve over time just decades ago in this vast western land people almost eliminated Grizzlies now that the Yellowstone population is thriving people must decide whether

to commit to keeping it that way there they're big if they can be dangerous they can be with us for some food sources so I think it really shows a big commitment to conservation to living with a wild wild brethren if you will the grizzly bears are definitely

iconic species for for people it's it represents of wildness and it represents something in the old American West that we have still a little bit of that left here and I think that's that's what people really appreciate it about grizzly bears even for people that actually don't like

grizzly bears that much they would still say that yes that there's something in silent

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