A better understanding of food sources for the region’s grizzly bear population will be key to better ascertaining its recovery and eligibility for delisting. That was the conclusion of bear managers gathered in Jackson Hole this week for the semi-annual meeting of the Yellowstone Ecosystem Subcommittee of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee. A major concern, says spokesman Gregg Losinski is the diminishing supply of Whitebark Pine nuts, but he says along with that needs to be the knowledge of what they eat instead. For the next two years, Losinski says the combined agencies will have their researchers go through their data about all the food sources bears can eat including whitebark pine nuts and document the food swapping bears do in the absence of whitebark pine. At the same time, Losinski says the various agencies will be using the improved technologies and methods for counting bears to gain a better understanding of the size of the population in the ecosystem and how their habitats may be expanding. Losinski says for several years, the new system will be used in tandem with the old system for purposes of comparison. He says while this will document the recovery that has taken place, the focus now needs to shift to the interface of people and bears so that people understand what needs to be done, not only for their own safety but the welfare of the bears as well. To that end, Losinski says the group is planning to use a new approach to signage in grizzly bear habitat to better get the attention of people traveling in those areas. The group next plans to meet in November in Bozeman, Montana.