Determining the Importance of Grizzly Bear Predation on Central Mountain Caribou Populations: Final Report

Karen Graham
Gordon Stenhouse
Terry Larsen
Laura Finnegan
Doug MacNearney
Joy Erlenback
Charles Robbins
Resource Date:
Page Length

To gain a better understanding of possible impacts of grizzly bears on central mountain caribou populations, we investigated three separate but inter-related topics concerning grizzly bear predation activities. These included 1) gaining a better understanding of grizzly bear and caribou habitat selection patterns to determine if these species co-occur over space and time as a form of predation risk, 2) investigating grizzly bear GPS location clusters to understand predation behaviour within caribou ranges, and 3) conducting captive feeding trials with grizzly bears to determine if stable isotope analysis from bear hair could provide insights into diets pertaining to ungulate consumption.

In summary, although we found that grizzly bears will kill caribou, our study suggests that grizzly bears likely play a minor role in the dynamics of central mountain caribou populations given current densities and distributions of these two species. However, should caribou numbers decrease further, the loss of any caribou may exacerbate the effects of mortality and further hamper population recovery.