Montana Grizzly Encounter and Wolf Discovery Center, MO

October 15, 2016

A few years ago a member from Bonaparte Indian Band (part of the Shuswap Nation in BC) told me they don’t hunt bears, one of the reasons is because their insides look very similar to humans.

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Bella (beautiful in Spanish)

Two thousand km south, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe in Colorado, in spring time do the Bear Dance to show respect for the spirit of the bear, that respect according to tradition made people strong.

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According to trophy hunters, they are killing to stop animals and others from dying from starvation, or from adverse human impacts, or from over predation.

Or so the argument goes.

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Brutus

I see this as a contradiction, as trophy hunting violates the tenets of compassionate conservation, namely; first do no harm and all individuals matter

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Food for though.

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Sympathy for the grizzlies is often accompanied by fear and my visit to the Montana Grizzly Encounter was a good opportunity to learn more about them.

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I managed to see Brutus and Bella, but there are three more that appear a few times during the day (Sheena, Jake and Maggi)

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These bears were born in captivity and cannot be released into the wild. .

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This non-profit organization uses all proceeds to care of their grizzly bears and to educate the public

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Ninety miles south, in West Yellowstone, there is the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center. Similar mission that its counterpart in Bozeman but in a more fancy way.

They have eight grizzlies who reside at GWDC after becoming nuisance bears or being orphaned cubs of a nuisance bear.

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Aquila, the Golden Eagle

There is also a raptor exhibit for raptors that cannot longer survive in the wild.

Aquila is a golden eagle that got hit by a propane truck.

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Jago, a Peregrine Falcon

Jago is a peregrine falcon that suffers from a congenital heart defect or respiratory system that doesn’t allow him to fly normally.

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Targhee, a Great Horned Owl

Targhee is a great horned owl that sustained serious ligament damage from an unknown source in the wilds of Wyoming.

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No sure but I believe this bald eagle (out of three) is Josh who got shot forcing the amputation of the left wing.

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Keek, a Rough-legged Hawk

Keek is a rough-legged hawk that sustained injuries to her right wing from an unknown cause. These hawks can see into the ultraviolet spectrum which allows them to see mouse urine.

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High Country Pack

The facility has six Yellowstone wolves that live in three different packs and whom were born in captivity.

There is the High Country Pack composed by Leopold and Mckinley.

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Granite Pack

The Granite Pack composed by Adara and Summit and the River Pack by Akela and Kootenai

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To keep them busy the keepers provide plenty of stimulation by hiding bones or sprinkling spices and other unusual scents. Live trout are added to the pond during the summer. A natural diet of elk and deer meat, hides and bones are provided by local hunters and meat processors.

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Driving Distance from Vancouver: 1300 km (14 hours)