In all scientific disciplines, there is an expanding gap between what is known by the general public and what is known by scientists. In this book, Dr. Bruce McLellan tries to bridge that gap.
Coexisting with grizzly bears into the future will be an increasing challenge and require a deep understanding of these large carnivores and what factors make their populations tick. Based on perhaps the longest uninterrupted wildlife research project done by one individual, this is the intertwined story of the science underlying our understanding of grizzly bears and family life in the wilderness while following bears.
The story of grizzly bear behaviour and ecology is based on dozens of research papers published in this study, which in turn are based on the actual lives of over 200 radio-collared bears. These chapters are not written “for dummies” but contain considerable substance for people interested in the science behind animal ecology and conservation. The scientific chapters cover topics ranging from the bears’ diet and how it influences changes in body fat and muscle, to how bears are counted and factors that influence births and deaths and regulate population size.
Mixed among the science chapters is the story of how a couple in their mid-20s began the Flathead grizzly project, built a log cabin on the bank of the Flathead River, had babies, and raised them in the wilderness among bears, wolves, and mountain lions. They endured floods that washed away part of their camp, forest fires that burned thousands of square miles, and some very weird people. Both children grew up with grizzly bears and eventually earned their own M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in the ecology of these amazing animals.