The Bears of Spring, Yellowstone

nomadruss in words and photos

I saw more bears this spring in Yellowstone than all of last summer. This was due in part to a mild winter, which led to fewer carcasses in the interior. With fewer carcasses, more bears were foraging for roots along the roadside, and in an encouraging sign, more bears were fishing again.

The cutthroat trout population had been encroached upon by lake trout, an invasive species. The cutthroat lives near the surface of the lake, while the lake trout lives in deep waters. The lake trout preys upon the cutthroat and had affected its numbers. We need the cutthroat for bears, eagles, ospreys and other predators. They are only accessible when they are near the surface. Also, the cutthroat spawn in Little Thumb Creek, which feeds Lake Yellowstone. This spring, in a sign of renewed behavior, both grizzly bears and black bears were alternately fishing for cutthroat in the creek…

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