Friday, September 29, 2006

Grizzles sighted near Aspen?

As The Gazette reported today - and Deb reported on this blog yesterday - pair of hunters near Independence Pass sighted what they claimed to be a female grizzly bear and two cubs frolicking in a clearing. They watched the family for a few minutes through binoculars Sept. 20, then contacted the DOW.

DOW has found no evidence of grizz in the area. They say their best bet is putting wildlife specialists on the ground to search fresh bear scat for the tell-tale silver tipped grizzly bear hair. To which I say, ewww.

This won't be the first time a grizz spotting turned out to be "just" another bear.

The last big bear sighted in Colorado was killed in 1979 by an outfitter, but rumors of the possibility of these bears living in isolated places, such as the south San Juan Wilderness area, have persisted, giving rise to books such as "Ghost Grizzlies: Does the Great Bear Still Haunt Colorado?"

Place your bets in the comment box below. Are there still Grizz in CO? I say no.


The Shaman said...

I don't see why not.

Encroaching civilization does seem to flush the wildlife out of old habitat into areas they have previously not gone.


Zen said...

Any hunter will tell you that when hunting season rolls around, before the first shot rings out, game animals have already made themselves scarce. Meadows that were filled with fat grazing elk all summer long simply empty out. Herds disapprear into the trees. The animals have learned. They just seem to know.

There are a whole lot of remote basins and hidden valleys in backcountry Colorado that rarely if ever see the human boot. Might it just be possible that there is a remnant population of grizzlies that, during the grizzly genocide of the late 19th - early 20th century, migrated to these remote areas, and for sake of sheer survival simply learned to avoid human detection?

Could well be. But even if this is true, the big question is whether or not they have enough genetic diversity to stage a comeback. Only time -- and more sightings -- will tell.

Anonymous said...

Zen, you sound like you might have even written a book about it!!

Vizon said...

Well with grizzly populations increasing in Yellowstone and the rest of Montana (and likely Wyoming since YNP is part of it), I don't know why it would be a surprise to see a couple migrate south into Colorado which is just as appealing a habitat as the rest of the rockies. Same pine nuts, yummy elk calves and vegetation, right?

Dena Rosenberry said...

I don't know much about grizzlies, but it makes sense they'd go where the environment supports them.

We hope to get out there as the land thaws and look for signs of grizzly living off our land.