Black Bear Density In Glacier National Park, Montana

Scientific Disciplines
Biological Sciences - Terrestrial
Keywords
Montana
bear
Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center
University of Montana
Ursus americanus
glacier national park
Years
Authors
Volumes
Volume 17, No. 1-4

Black bear density in glacier national park, montana
Jeff Stetz,* University of Montana, USGS Glacier Field Station, Glacier National Park, West 
Glacier, Montana 59936, jeff.stetz@gmail.com
Kate Kendall, Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center, USGS Glacier Field Station, Glacier 
National Park, West Glacier, Montana 59936
Amy Macleod, University of Montana, USGS Glacier Field Station, Glacier National Park, West 
Glacier, Montana 59936
No demographic information exists on the status of Glacier National Park’s (GNP) black 
bear (Ursus americanus) population.  In 2004, we sampled the black bear population within 
GNP plus a 10 km buffer using noninvasive hair collection methods as part of a 7.8 million–
acre study of the regional grizzly bear (U. arctos) population. We collected 5645 hair samples 
from 550 baited hair traps, and 3807 samples from multiple visits to 1,542 natural bear rubs. 
Microsatellite analysis identified 601 (51% F) individuals from the 2848 samples identified 
as black bears. Data from individual bears were used in closed population mark–recapture 
models to estimate black bear population abundance.  We developed an information-theoretic 
approach to estimate the effectively sampled area from which we calculated density for the 
6600 km2 greater GNP area. Preliminary results suggest that the density of GNP’s black bear 
population was equal to or greater than other interior populations sympatric with grizzlies, 
despite the high density of grizzlies. This project represents the first estimate of black bear 
density for this area, and demonstrates the efficiency of multi–species projects to inform 
management.