Yet another example highlighting the expanding range and overall health of the Yellowstone-area grizzly bear population, turned up east of Cody, Wyoming. That’s where a rancher came across fresh grizzly tracks on her property.
“We’ve never seen signs of grizzlies back there — like it shocked me,” Virginia Schmidt told the Associated Press.
Schmidt’s family ranch is about seven miles east of Cody which is more than 50 miles east of Yellowstone.
“You can only fit so much water in a bucket before it starts spilling over and that’s kind of what we’re seeing especially in some of that Cody front where we’re just seeing these bears expand into new areas,” said Dan Thompson, Wyoming Game and Fish Department large carnivore specialist.
Thompson maintains Wyoming’s prairie is anything but ideal grizzly habitat. In fact, he says it’s downright dangerous.
“The problem is that there’s a much higher potential for conflicts with people, and it’s a safety risk for people and it’s not good for bears either to be in these areas where they’re going to get into more trouble,” Thompson said.
Grizzlies are also expanding their range in Montana, where they’re turning up in places not seen in more than a century.
(Photo source: Virginia Schmidt)