Grizzlies at Mammoth June 18

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Grizzlies at Mammoth June 18

Post by karenandbill »

We went into the park today and once again, the Junction Butte pups eluded us. On the way to Lamar we did see a very large black bear heading toward the trail at Wraith Falls. Nobody at the trailhead yet so we moved on. We headed to Slough Creek to look at the den site and nothing was happening. There were only a couple of people in the pullouts so I told Karen we should keep going as there must be something out in the Valley. Sure enough there was a large group near the Institute. Many were starting to pack up so we went on past. Shortly thereafter we could see a large single black wolf moving parallel with the road. We got a parking spot and were able to follow him for quite a while as he turned and headed towards the creek.

We then headed east and saw a small group of people at Round Prairie. There were two moose back in the trees which we could not see at first. But then a cinnamon bear came out of the trees nearby which caused the moose to stir a bit so we were able to see them.

Shortly past Pebble Creek we could see something at the side of the road. It was a small dark phase red fox. It then started trotting on the edge of the road, stopping occasionally to jump at something in the grass. Fortunately, there was little traffic and he finally moved off the road.

Headed back west through the Valley. Nothing out and no activity around the den site. Perhaps the puppies have moved??? Drove past the badger den site at Petrified Tree but just lookers.

After we crossed the bridge near Mammoth, we could see people including a ranger out on the hills looking at something. There were lots of elk around but they seemed very nervous so there had to be something. We were able to get a parking space and after some help, we could see a grizzly over near the horse corral. After watching a few minutes, we decided we might get a better view across from the Hot Springs. We drove over and there was a group of people down off the road so headed there. The bear had moved and was not visible, but the elk were very active, some almost in a panic. We could here them calling out, a very mournful sound. One female was particularly upset moving back and forth. Spoke with a ranger there and he said that two grizzlies were taking elk calves. After waiting a while, one of the bears reappeared and started feeding in the sage apparently on one of the calves it had killed earlier. It was still about 150 yards away so no pictures but we had a good view with binoculars.

The ranger told us that they are concerned with so many elk around, the bears are coming in to take the calves. Although these bears were at a safe distance, last week one griz took a calf right in front of the Visitors Center and dragged it behind one of the buildings to feed. Also, somebody's dog got killed by an elk recently. So they would like the elk to move on. He didn't say what action they would take, but I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't try to move the elk away.

We moved on to try and get a short hike in. It was still a bit wet in places so we just hiked the road out to Indian Creek Campground. No sign of it opening yet, but several campgrounds are now open including Mammoth and Madison which were both full. The park is getting crowded. No tour buses yet, but other than that it seemed like a typical mid-summer day as far as traffic is concerned. We were stuck in a long line of traffic barely moving for half an hour. Apparently a bison jam but we saw nothing after we finally started moving. Lots of bison everywhere, especially in Lamar. The hills and valleys are still very green. The forecast is not showing any rain for the next 10 days. Hopefully that changes as we would like to see it stay green for a while longer and more importantly, keep down the fires later in the summer.

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Re: Grizzlies at Mammoth June 18

Post by Dorothy »

Sounds like there's lots of animal activity and lots of people to watch them! Thanks for your report -- always enjoy hearing about things up there. Sounds like we got just the first few days of the elk calves, and now the bears have discovered them. I always feel so sorry for the moms and the calves, but on the other hand, bears (and their cubs) need to eat!

Again, thanks for the report. Wish I could get back up there!

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Location: East Texas

Re: Grizzlies at Mammoth June 18

Post by mdtrot »

Well, I just checked into my hotel in Gardiner and will pass through Mammoth in the morning. So, I will keep an eye out for the grizz. I did come through Mammoth on the way to the hotel, but saw no wildlife.

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