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IGBST records 63 grizzly bear mortalities in 2021

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

The Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team (IGBST) keeps tabs on known and probable grizzly bear mortalities in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, and their current running count indicates 63 grizzlies have died this year in the region. This number is up from 49 deaths counted in 2020, but isn’t as high as the 68 grizzly bear deaths counted in 2018.

According to IGBST data, 42 grizzly bear mortalities occurred within the Demographic Monitoring Area (DMA) surrounding the recovery zone – which is centered on Yellowstone National Park – while the remaining 21 mortalities occurred outside this area. These bear deaths outside the DMA reflect increased grizzly bear distribution in areas far from the grizzly recovery zone, as indicated on a map provided by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD).

Inside the DMA

Inside the DMA, there were 18 known bear deaths this year that are currently under investigation, including eight in Wyoming, six in Idaho and four in Montana. No further information about the investigations is available.

There were two natural deaths, including a cub killed by another bear and an old bear, which was reported to have drowned. One bear death in Yellowstone National Park was listed as from an undetermined cause.

Human-caused deaths within the DMA accounted for the largest number of bear deaths with a total of 21. Two of the bears were killed by vehicle strikes, and one bear was killed for humane reasons because it was in poor condition. Six bears were killed for cattle depredations, and one was killed for sheep depredation on private property.

Eleven bears were killed as management removals after property damage, breaking into structures and vehicles, trying to enter an occupied tent or repeated bold behavior around lodges and trailheads occurred.

Outside the DMA

There were 21 human-caused grizzly bear deaths this year outside the DMA. 

A total of 10 bears were killed as management removals for cattle depredations – all but one on private land. Six of these bears were management removals in Wyoming, with four others in Montana.

Two grizzlies were killed as management removals for sheep depredations on private land in Wyoming.

Three grizzlies drowned in an irrigation canal, and one was killed by a vehicle strike. Two other grizzlies were killed as management removals after frequenting a corn maze and developed areas on private lands in Wyoming. Three other subadult grizzlies were management removals after frequenting private agricultural lands and residential areas along the Greybull River.

Cat Urbigkit is a corresponding writer for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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