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Greater Glacier Bear DNA Project 1997-2002

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Principal Investigator

Katherine C. Kendall, USGS Glacier Field Station, Glacier National Park, West Glacier, MT 59936-0128 Email: kkendall@usgs.gov

Lisette Waits, Fish and Wildlife Resources, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83844-1136. Email: lwaits@uidaho.edu

Project Description

No reliable information existed on grizzly or black bear population status in Glacier National Park and the surrounding ecosystem. Recent advances in genetic technology allow us to identify the species, sex, and individual of a bear via DNA extracted from hair and feces without handling the bear itself. We analyzed DNA from bear sign collected along established trails and from a grid of systematically positioned hair traps. The number of individuals and species identified from survey routes yielded minimum counts and a baseline index of population size. Bears identified from hair trap and sign survey collections were used in mark-recapture models to estimate the density of the grizzly bear population in the greater Glacier National Park area. The DNA profiles are also used to assess the degree of genetic variation, relatedness, and structure of the population.

    Greater Glacier Grizzly Bear DNA Project (1997-2002): The Grizzly Bear Project objective was to determine a baseline population estimate for grizzly bears in the Greater Glacier Ecosystem. For more information on the Greater Glacier Grizzly Bear DNA Project

    Greater Glacier Black Bear DNA Project (1997-2002): The Black Bear Project objective was to determine a baseline population estimate for black bears in the Greater Glacier Ecosystem using the black bear samples collected during the Grizzly Bear Project. For more information on the Greater Glacier Black Bear DNA Project

Related Projects

  • Northern Divide Bear Project (2003-2008): 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

Keywords

grizzly bear, black bear, DNA finger printing, mark-recapture, wildlife, population, landscape scale, conservation genetics, feces, hair, micosatellites, polymerase chain reaction, Ursus arctos, Ursus americanus, hair snag, genetics, Blackfoot Nation, Flathead National Forest, Waterton Lakes National Park, Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem

Geographic Distribution

Greater Glacier National Park Area, Montana