Glacier National Park officials are saying they had no other options than to put down a 5-year-old female grizzly bear on Thursday because it had become “food conditioned.”
Glacier authorities, along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announced Friday morning the euthanization of the bear near Lake Sherburne in north-central Montana.
“This action was taken after the bear received multiple food rewards from unsecured sources, causing it to exhibit increasingly aggressive behavior,” the park said in a release. “This behavior posed a threat to human safety making it necessary to remove it from the population.”
The bear had been under watch from park officials because of numerous instances of close contact with people and resulting “food rewards” from unsecured locations.
Glacier officials cited an instance June 27, when the grizzly obtained human food from a campsite picnic table.
She was hazed out of the area, but returned twice.
On July 18, the bear charged at a family having a picnic at Swiftcurrent Lake. The bear ran off with some beverages that were cooling in the lake.
“This behavior posed a threat to human safety, making it necessary to remove it from the population,” officials said Friday.
Wildife authorities say once a bear receives human food, it can become food conditioned.
“Over time, food conditioned bears may become bold or aggressive in their attempts to obtain human food, as was the case with this bear,” officials said.
As for bear refuges, they are few and far between and rarely have positions available.
Bears Vs. Humans
In Wyoming, a young male black bear was shot by Wyoming Game and Fish officials last month after it had raided three houses in the Big Horn area.
On June 20, the home that Roseanne Gentry and her husband Kim own on Brinton Road just outside of Big Horn was the third and final house a young male black bear raided before Wyoming Game and Fish Department wardens caught up with the bear and killed it.
Neighbors had been having trouble with bears earlier in the spring. Then on the night of May 25, a surveillance camera caught footage of a female black bear with two cubs near the Gentrys’ shop building. Those bears were relocated, but the young male that came a month later wasn’t.
It’s possible it also may have been “food conditioned” when it walked into someone’s kitchen after the screen door had been left open.
Game wardens were soon on the scene in the bear’s last encounter with humans, Gentry said. They had a dog with them, and the bear was eventually cornered behind the Gentry’s shop.
“We heard the shots from inside the house,” she said.
“I feel bad that the bear had to be killed,” Gentry added. “Relocation wasn’t an option for him. He’d been into chickens and into people’s houses.”
Jimmy Orr can be reached at email@example.com.