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Grizzly Radio

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Grizzly bear’s have immense appetites. And in order for them to successfully reproduce through winter, female grizzlies must attain more than 20% body fat before entering their dens, according to past WSU-led research ( ). From a nutritional perspective, few natural foods available to grizzly bears are capable of packing on their fat reserves, like army cutworm moths can. Gram for gram by dry-weight, army cutworm moths are as nourishing to bears as a stick of butter -those flying armies truly are bear butter to grizzlies!

A grizzly bear scouring talus for moths, viewed through a high-powered spotting scope

Past research in Glacier National Park suggests grizzly bears can consume up to 40,000 army cutworm moths per day ( My team’s research will build upon past research into grizzly bear use of moth aggregations by more rigorously illustrating grizzly bears’ demand for this key food source. The final product will be a model of grizzly bear resource selection of army cutworm moth aggregations across the project’s trans-boundary study area.

Inside a large natural rock cavity used by grizzly bear(s) as a day shelter, located adjacent to a moth field

I’ve witnessed how humans from all different cultures and far-off corners of our planet are fascinated by grizzly bears. In North America, grizzly bears are an icon of our pioneer heritage and a symbol of wilderness values. And I believe conservation efforts for grizzly bears can enhance peoples’ support for broader conservation of wildlife and wild places. For this reason, I have chosen to share my research experience on this web page.

During the course of project research, I will document field work using a Sony RX-10 Mark IV camera I have purchased, the “minivan” of cameras according to DP-Review.

Here are a few photographs from the 2019 field season using it:

Friend and technician, Burt Bjorling, at a high-elevation survey plot
Technician Jackson George, collecting army cutworm moths at a survey plot
Measuring the dimensions of talus rocks removed from a 5-minute experimental dig to detect the presence of army cutworm moths aggregating below the surface

The initial construction of this webpage was undertaken for a class I audited at WSU. There were four units for Communications 210: Multimedia Content Creation. For Unit 1 I completed a graphically-designed poster, showcasing grizzly bear foraging habits for army cutworm moths. For Unit 2 I designed a logo for my research project, which I am now using in power points, visual publications, and the like. For Unit 3, I interviewed Burt Bjorling, my 65 years young All-Star who shared his experience working on the project in 2019. Finally, for Unit 4 I created a video story using video footage and photographs from my first field season to showcase a component my project’s methodology.

In closing, I’d like to share the websites for a few people or organizations I have learned a great deal from, or are inspirational to me:

Chris Morgan Wildlife – I first met Chris as an undergraduate at Western Washington University in 2002. I was a 21-year old trying to find his bearings. Chris was a hungry and dedicated ecologist, motivated to make a difference in the bear conservation world. Chris’s website showcases his broad multimedia efforts to engage the public about wildlife conservation using his passion and skill sets.

Glacier National Park – I’ve been privileged to work and play in the Glacier area since 2003, my first summer, which changed the course of my life. For nine years preceding my entry into graduate school at WSU, I served as a wildlife technician on the Park’s east side under JW, a darn-fine wildlife biologist. Glacier is an inspirational place, one which I’ve been fortunate to get to know in so many ways, in so many steep corners.

The Glacier National Park Conservancy – The folks at the Glacier National Park Conservancy are helping make my graduate ambitions a reality. Besides funding my research, they raise funds for a variety of much-needed purposes in Glacier, like rebuilding the Sperry Chalet, which was lost in a wildfire in 2017.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks – There is no finer state-level wildlife management agency in the country than Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. I earned some of my stripes in the ‘bear world’ working here for another inspirational figure of mine. The work environment cultured at FWP is terrific. Their ranks are filled with inspired professionals who relish the outdoors and are dedicated to conserving fish and wildlife populations.

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