By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A black bear was euthanized Thursday in Grand Teton National Park for public safety, according to a news release from the National Park Service.
The decision to remove the bear from the population was based on recent activity in which it exhibited no fear of humans and approached humans looking for food.
The bear was highly food conditioned and routinely visited campsites, picnic tables and approaching vehicles in the Jenny Lake and String Lake areas.
On Wednesday, the bear walked into an occupied campsite where a family with children were, went directly to the picnic table and began eating the campers’ food that was set out.
Park staff immediately responded to the scene. The campers were relocated to another site and the area was closed so the bear could be safely captured.
The bear was trapped and killed Thursday evening. The female bear was about 1.5 years old and weighed around 60 pounds.
Feeding wildlife in a national park is illegal and presents severe risks to the animal and to humans. Grizzly and black bears thrive in Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller Jr., Memorial Parkway.
Visitors to the park may encounter a bear anywhere and at any time.
The proper storage of food items and responsible picnicking are important in bear country. Odors attract bears into campgrounds and picnic areas.
Picnickers should only have immediate use items out so that if a bear approaches, food items can be quickly gathered and the opportunity for the bear to receive a food reward is removed. Visitors should store food and scented items in bear-resistant food lockers that are located throughout the park or in a hard-sided vehicle.
Don’t burn waste in fire rings or leave litter in campsites.