When It’s Supper Time You Don’t Want To Get In A Grizzly’s Way
When it’s supper time, the one place on earth you DON’T want to be…is in hungry Grizzly’s way. Grizzly bears can and will eat just about anything. And that means running down whatever they can catch, from elk calves and salmon, to baby bison. Grizzly bears are majestic symbols of the wild. Bears live in and use a variety of habitat types, playing important roles in each one.
This makes them an “umbrella species,” meaning that when we protect them and their habitat we also protect many species. Grizzly bears can also help ecosystems by distributing seeds and nutrients through their scat, and occasionally regulating ungulate populations.
Grizzly bears are omnivores, and their diet can vary widely. They may eat seeds, berries, roots, grasses, fungi, deer, elk, fish, dead animals and insects. In the late summer and early fall, grizzlies enter hyperphagia, a period of 2-4 months when they intensify their calorie intake to put on weight for winter denning. During this time period they can gain more than three pounds a day!
Though still common in much of Alaska, British Columbia and Alberta, grizzly bears have been reduced in the lower 48 states from an estimated historical population of 50,000 to only about 1,800 today in five small isolated populations.
Most of these grizzly bears are located in Montana’s Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (including Glacier National Park) and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
Grizzly bears are normally solitary animals. However, they are not very territorial and they may be seen feeding together where food is abundant, such as at salmon streams and whitebark pine sites.
Females will rear their cubs for 2-3 years. When a female grizzly bear leaves her mother, they often set up their home range quite close to their mother’s home range. Males will typically range further, but may also remain close by.