METALINE FALLS, Wash. — Washington wildlife biologists recently captured and fitted a female grizzly bear with a radio collar for the first time, according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The mother bear was accompanied by three young bears when the biologists arrived. She was captured 10 miles from the Washington-Idaho border near Metaline Falls.
The young bears dispersed into the woods while the biologists were present. After they did a wellness check on the mother and fitted her with the collar, they returned to her.
“A group of bears - a mother and three cubs - were photographed on another occasion on a game camera in the same area three to four weeks prior to the capture,” said Wayne Kasworm, a grizzly bear biologist with Service. “The natal collar - the white ring around the neck - of one of the cubs leads us to believe this is the same family of bears.”
Biologists found the bear's location by photos taken by a camera in the Selkirk Grizzly Bear Recovery Zone near the Selkirk Mountains.
Grizzlies in that area roam between northern Idaho, northeastern Washington, and southeastern British Columbia. The population in the Selkirk Recovery Zone is considered healthy and is growing at a rate of about 2.9% per year.
“Understanding how the bears are using the landscape will aid biologists in advancing recovery of the species,” said Hannah Anderson, WDFW’s Diversity Division Manager.
Biologists believe the recently collared female is a resident of the area, not another bear from outside of Washington.