9-30 SS Sow Killed
It was been believed that the bears orphaned were cubs of the year, born this last winter. When measurement taken of the young bears' front paw pad prints at the scene where the sow was shot were compared to hundreds of previous measurements from other cubs of the year, it is clear these bears are yearlings. According to Large Carnivore Biologist Bryan Aber, who works for Idaho Department of Fish & Game (IDFG) , "7 centimeters (cm) is the standard for cubs of the year in the Yellowstone Ecosystem and the measurements Aber made of the cub's front pad prints were 8.5 cm and 9 cm. This measurement clearly makes these bears yearlings." The distinction between cubs of the year and yearling is of major importance. According to Aber, "Orphaned cubs of the year generally stand little chance of survival if left on their own heading into winter. Idaho Fish and Game Spokesperson, Greg Losinski: "Yearlings that are in good condition stand a very good chance of surviving. The bears can forage and weigh about 100 pds."