Elk NetworkGrizzlies Expand Range in Idaho and Wyoming

General | June 4, 2021

Recent confirmed sightings of grizzly bears in southwest Wyoming and east-central Idaho indicate the species continues to expand its range.

Idaho Fish and Game officials recently received a video shot in spring of 2020 (only recently provided to F&G) by a sportsman who believed the bear was a young grizzly near the Continental Divide southeast of Salmon. Upon viewing, Fish and Game officials verified that video footage was a sub-adult male grizzly bear and confirmed its location. Sub-adult males are known to roam great distances, and it is very unlikely the bear is still present in the area.

Although Idaho’s known grizzly bear populations are in the northern Panhandle and the Greater Yellowstone Area in eastern Idaho, it’s possible that grizzly bears could wander into the Salmon Region on a rare occasion where people aren’t expecting them.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department verified a grizzly bear north of Viva Naughton Reservoir through remote camera photos. It obtained the images by a member of the public who reported them to the department. It’s the second spring in a row authorities confirmed a grizzly bear in the southern Wyoming Range.

“These spring sightings are the furthest south grizzly bears have been verified since well before recovery efforts began in the 1970s,” said Todd Graham, Green River Region wildlife supervisor.

The location is approximately 65 miles south of the Demographic Monitoring Area which is the area considered suitable for the long-term viability of grizzly bears by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The second grizzly sighting in the area is further evidence of a recovered  — and growing — grizzly bear population.

(Photo source:  Wyoming Game and Fish Department)