USGS Advisory: DNA Fingerprinting Allows Non-Intrusive Study Of Grizzly Bears

April 05, 1999

Recent advances in genetic technology that allow scientists to study bear populations without handling bears is the topic of Katherine Kendall's lecture scheduled for April 6 in Room 3004 at the Main Interior Building at 1849 C St., N.W., Washington, D.C. Reporters are invited to attend and cover the event. Kendall will be available to address questions following her lecture.

Through innovative and non-invasive methods, Kendall and other USGS staff are providing baseline data on the grizzly population in Glacier National Park and, equally important, protocols for long-term monitoring of this threatened species. The study, which Kendall leads, involves nine federal, state, and tribal agencies and spans a 2-million-acre area centered on the park.

The technology allows identification of species, sex, and individuals from DNA extracted from bear hair and scats (droppings). Previous grizzly population studies in forested habitats were often accomplished with the use of radio telemetry, which is expensive and disruptive to bears, as well as to park visitors. Until now, no demographic study of the Glacier National Park grizzly bear population has been conducted and no data exist on the population's size, status, or trends.

1 P.M., Tuesday, Apr.6, 1999
Department of the Interior
Main Interior Building
Room 3004
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20240

NOTE TO NEWS EDITORS: Reproducible remote camera photos of bears at hair traps and scientist in the field may be found at:

For more information on the project, please visit our website at:

REPORTERS PLEASE NOTE: Press credentials required for entry into the building.
This press release and in-depth information about USGS programs may be found on the USGS home page: To receive the latest USGS news releases automatically by email, send a request to Specify the listerver(s) of interest from the following names: water-pr: geologic-hazards-pr; biological-pr; mapping-pr; products-pr; lecture-pr. In the body of the message write: subscribe (name of listserver) (your name). Example: subscribe water-pr joe smith.

As the nation's largest water, earth and biological science and civilian mapping agency, the USGS works in cooperation with more than 2000 organizations across the country to provide reliable, impartial, scientific information to resource managers, planners, and other customers. This information is gathered in every state by USGS scientists to minimize the loss of life and property from natural disasters, to contribute to the conservation and the sound economic and physical development of the nation's natural resources, and to enhance the quality of life by monitoring water, biological, energy, and mineral resources.

US Geological Survey

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