Down from the Mountain: The Life and Death of a Grizzly Bear

Houghton Harcourt. Apr. 2019. 288p. notes. ISBN 9781328972453. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781328972477. NAT HIST
Award-winning author Andrews (People and Carnivores) delves into the lives and habits of grizzly bears in Montana's Mission Valley. Many of these animals have developed a taste for corn, bringing them into close contact with ranchers, farmers, and wildlife biologists in the region resulting in inevitable conflicts between bears and people, and causing bears to abandon their traditional sources of food in the higher mountains. Using private and federal funding, Andrews builds and tests a short electric fence surrounding a local dairy farmer's cornfield to determine if it deters grizzlies. Intertwined with his experiment is the story of Millie, a sow with two cubs, from her birth in the mountains to her death. Andrews attempts to find a home for her two young cubs and follows the federal investigation into the bear's death. With his knowledge of grizzlies, research into bear biology, and Millie's radio collar data, Andrews narrates the story as it might have happened and describes the impact of grizzlies losing their wilderness over time.
VERDICT This fascinating, well-researched, and lyrical memoir will appeal to conservationists, those curious about large predators, and readers who relish stories of the West.
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