30 Apr '11, 12am

Grizzly bears have lost their favorite food -- whitebark pine -- so now what will they eat? Meat.

Grizzly bears have lost their favorite food -- whitebark pine -- so now what will they eat? Meat.

So what foods are Yellowstone grizzly bears turning to as whitebark pine, formerly a major staple, dies off? The simple answer, made in spades at last week’s Yellowstone grizzly bear subcommittee meetings, was that bears would eat more meat—largely big game and livestock. While the managers were fairly blasé in discussing how bears are making this major transition, on the ground and in real terms, grizzlies that eat more meat face more risks too. The meeting began with an interesting and sobering session on the major threats to whitebark pine, featuring top experts in the field. Dr. Jesse Logan gave a thorough overview of the 2009 aerial assessment of whitebark pine impacts from an unprecedented climate-driven mountain pine beetle outbreak, documenting functional loss of whitebark pine in much of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. This work was the result of a unique partn...

Full article: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/lwillcox/let_them_eat_m...

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