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Bear Advocacy Presentation Will Provide a Chance at Better Understanding Heading Into Summer

Published May 03, 2023

Originally published in Teton Valley News on April 11, 2023 by editor Conner Shea.

With the warm temperatures currently gracing Teton Valley, wildlife around our forests will finally be receiving their first real reprieve from what has amounted to a tough, cold, and snowy winter.

While ungulates such as deer, moose, and elk have weathered the many storms the best that they can, many will soon begin their migrations away from valley locales into the pristine alpine areas of the Tetons.

As we turn the irregular corner from winter to spring to summer, another two species will be awaking from their deep slumber and once again roam the many areas of our mountains and valley locations.

Grizzly bears (and their smaller, darker-furred companions, black bears) will be out and about searching for sources of food to refuel after a long winter, attracted to natural forest vegetation and winter carcasses.

However, as illustrated in many occurrences, such as a black bear cub that strayed too close to Victor Elementary this past February and a family of Grizzlies that was put down last November near North Leigh Creek, the evidence remains that humans and bears will inadvertently be placed in tough situations as bears roam what was their natural habitat.

Most people in Teton Valley, especially those that choose to live away from more developed areas in our more rural and forested lands, know what precautions to take to limit household food availability for these majestic, powerful creatures.

These individuals are happy to coexist with these animals that have been a feature of the Tetons for countless years. After all, they were here first, and many residents know that we are encroaching on their territory, not the other way around.

Michael Abbott is one of those residents and has been living in Obsidian Meadows northeast of Tetonia for many years.

After seeing that family of grizzlies taken away by local wildlife officials last fall, Mike was saddened and convened a residents-only meeting to see what they could do about the situation.

While nothing could bring back the animals, this instance set Abbott on a path of advocacy that included addressing the Yellowstone Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee.

While those actions came and went, Abbott is now taking the next step of helping organize a community presentation dedicated to informing residents of how best to eliminate and mitigate the chance for human-bear conflict.

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