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Rid Yellowstone Lake of lake trout and improve Park grizzly genetics

Yellowstone National Park asks for dollars to rid Yellowstone Lake of lake trout and for support to improve Park grizzly are inbred.

Yellowstone Park is looking for a million dollars a year to rid Yellowstone Lake of lake trout. It also reports (though this was already common knowledge) that the grizzly bear population of the Park and adjacent area (the  ”Greater Yellowstone”) is seriously inbred because the population is far isolated from grizzly bears to the north and has been for many years now. Even though the bear population has grown to about 600 (but now apparently stopped and perhaps begun to decline), the grizzly genetics can only go downhill without new grizzly bear genes from outside the area. This is expected to become a real problem by 2022.

The Park hopes migration corridors can be kept open to the north for bears to wander south to inhabit the Yellowstone area, intermingling with the existing bears. Unfortunately, and the AP story doesn’t tell this, but these northerly bear populations (such as Glacier N.P.) are also genetically improverished.  Perhaps a more effective plan would be to transplant bears from the far north in Canada to the Park, or if this proves too controversial, fertilize some Yellowstone grizzly sows with the semen of bears from the north.

As far as the lake trout go, despite a yearly effort that kills thousands of the big non-native trout, a much more aggressive effort is needed. This costs money, but the biological dividend would be huge because the beleaguered Yellowstone cutthroat trout that are being eaten by the lake trout are the prey for dozens of mammal and avian species as well as stream anglers upstream outside the the Park in Wyoming.  Lake trout provide no food for Park animals at all because they live deep down. Nothing eats them except a few human boat anglers. Meanwhile the lake trout wipe out (eat) the valuable Yellowstone cutthroat that live in and spawn in shallower waters.

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