The grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) population in this area appears very strong. Reproductive success is a good indicator of this, we see that most sows have three cubs and some even four at a time. We see a pattern that young bears are moving into less suitable habitats to establish home range, because the best habitats are occupied by older bears.
To communicate with each other, grizzly bears rub against selected trees leaving olfactory cues for one another. It is believed that males use theese cues to find females for mating and bears use the same rubbing tree through generations.
We have collected samples of grizzly hair from the rubbing trees to establish population statistics in the Chilcotin Mountains and the Bridge River Watershed. Using DNA analysis from the collected hair, we wish to determine population size and habitat use over seasons and across years. We are also interested in learning more about diet through stable isotope analysis. Of particular interest is the importance of whitebark pine, an at-risk species, in their diet.