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Glacier National Park Staff Kills Food-Conditioned Black Bear

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

An adult female black bear was killed this week by Glacier National Park staff after it became conditioned to human foods.

The bear was killed Thursday after multiple incidents of it eating human food and not showing fear of humans.

On Aug. 28, the black bear was reported moving through the Many Glacier Campground and was not readily responsive to attempts to move it out of campsites. 

On Aug. 29, the bear returned and was observed snatching apples out of an open trunk while visitors were nearby packing their vehicle. The bear then proceeded to eat the apples at the campsite, exhibiting little fear of humans.

While park staff attempted to verbally drive the bear out of the campground, the bear tried to stop at another campsite where people were preparing breakfast and after being driven out into the woods, returned half an hour later. 

On Wednesday, the adult female bear was trapped in a culvert trap near the Many Glacier housing area. 

Based on photographs and visitor reports, it is possible this could be the same bear that was approaching people and exhibiting unusual behavior near Grinnell Lake last week, resulting in closure of the Grinnell Lake trail on Aug. 25. DNA samples collected from both sites will be tested and compared to determine if the same animal was involved in both incidents. 

Many Glacier Campground recently restricted campers to hard-sided vehicles due to the presence of the bear. The campground is now open to all camper types again, including tents.

In accordance with Glacier National Park’s Bear Management Plan, and in consultation with park wildlife biologists, the bear was killed.

The bear was estimated to be around four-years old and approximately 120 pounds. A field necropsy revealed it to be in otherwise healthy condition.

Food-conditioned bears are those that have sought and obtained non-natural foods, destroyed property, or displayed aggressive, non-defensive behavior towards humans and are removed from the wild. Given this bear’s behavior and successful acquisition of human foods the decision was made to remove the animal from the park. Once a bear has become food-conditioned, hazing and aversive conditioning are unlikely to be successful in reversing this type of behavior. Food-conditioned bears are not relocated due to human safety concerns. 

Black bears are not good candidates for animal capture facilities such as zoos and animal parks due to the plentiful nature of the species throughout the United States.

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Boulder, Colorado Woman Hospitalized After Walking Into Moose

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By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily

A Boulder, Colorado, woman was attacked by a moose on Sunday after literally walking into it near Winter Park, Colorado.

The Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) department reported that the unnamed woman was walking in “complete darkness” at 4:30 a.m. on a forest road when she bumped into the animal.

The agency said that moose generally don’t like to be surprised and have a tendency to respond violently when bumped into in pitch-black surroundings.

The moose reportedly attacked the woman twice. She said the second time, she played dead and the animal left.

The woman received injuries to her back, legs, and wrist but was later released by the medical center in Granby, Colorado.

As a result of the accident, the wildlife agency put out an unusual reminder to the public that walking in complete darkness at 4:30 a.m. on forest roads where wildlife is present is not a good idea.

“Hikers should choose routes with good visibility and be extra cautious when walking in close proximity to willows and thick habitat,” CPW Area Wildlife Manager Jeromy Huntington said.

Noted Wyoming outdoorsman Paul Ulrich said this was one of the “stupidest things” he had ever heard of.

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Bison Attacks Another Woman in South Dakota; Pants Stay On This Time.

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By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily

It’s August and it’s South Dakota. That means someone is going to get thrown by a bison.

Reminiscent of the spectacular bison de-pantsing of 2020, another woman in South Dakota got in the crosshairs of a bison — and lost.

This time, it’s not as dramatic. It could be but no video has surfaced.

Just a fuzzy picture and an eyewitness.

Kind of like a Saquatch sighting.

Angela Ohmer, from Rapid City, South Dakota, took a photo of downed person, a departing bison, and a man looking like he’s there to help.

Ohmer explained on her Facebook page that this occurred during a wedding in South Dakota on Saturday.

“Only in South Dakota can you go to a wedding and witness a bison tossing a woman that got too close!!!! Not even kidding!  This is not a petting zoo, homey!” Ohmer said.

Perhaps the bison was simply celebrating the event and was tossing the woman like the bride tosses her bouquet.

Ohmer went on to clarify that unlike the situation of a year ago where the dimwitted tourist did try to pet a bison, this couple was just walking past the bison “and it turned on them.”

Sheila Schielke-Ross concurred: “She was simply walking to her cabin from the wedding. It randomly turned direction and attacked her with no warning. Luckily, a ranger was there and was able to immediately intervene. She did nothing to provoke the animal, other than walk.”

Kobee Stalder, visitor services program manager for the Custer State Park, said the woman did not suffer any significant injuries.

“Other than some bumps and bruises, she was OK,” he told the Rapid City Journal. “We’re very fortunate in that aspect that no more severe injuries were sustained during that incident.”

Nathan Foote, who appears to be acting as the official scorekeeper of South Dakota, noted that bison are leading women by a 2-0 margin.

Another commenter posted a photo of Custer State Park’s new ambulance featuring a bison on it. 

And actually, that’s not a joke. That is on the side of the service’s ambulance.

In the meantime, commenters on the Yellowstone: Invasion of the Idiots Facebook page, did not seem to be too concerned.

“Thank God! I was afraid the tourist season would end without the annual bison toss the tourist game. The bison love it,” said Marie Morgan.

As for the woman who took the photo, she left a happy person.

“Best. Wedding. Ever. 😆,” Ohmer said.

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Algae That Can Kill Pets, Cause Illness In People Reported In Wyoming Waters

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By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily

There’s something dangerous in the water.

In lakes and reservoirs around the state, a harmful plant is lurking near the shore – one that poses a deadly threat to pets and livestock, and can cause serious illness for people.

It’s called a harmful cyanobacterial bloom (HCB) — a bluish-green algae that grows near the surface of calm water bodies, and right now it’s blooming in all corners of Wyoming. 

From the Buffalo Bill Reservoir near Cody to the West Granite Springs Reservoir near Cheyenne; from the Keyhole Reservoir near Sundance, to the Woodruff Narrows Reservoir near Evanston — seventeen locations around the state have reported HCBs.

“Cyanobacteria are naturally occurring photosynthetic organisms that play an important role as primary producers in the ecosystem,” said Kelsee Hurshman, HCB Coordinator with the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality. “Cyanobacteria multiply rapidly with sunlight, warm temperatures, and nutrient abundance.”

When the concentrations of cyanotoxins pose a risk to people or animals using water in affected regions, the Wyoming Department of Health issues advisories so people — and pets — can stay safe.

“In humans, when they come into contact with the contaminated water, it can act more as an irritant,” said Courtney Tillman, an epidemiologist with the Wyoming Department of Health. “If they drink contaminated water, they can get pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache from neurological symptoms, such as muscle weakness or dizziness, and in severe cases, liver damage occurs as well.”

But for pets, even limited exposure to the toxic algae can be fatal, according to Dr. Hallie Hasel, the Wyoming State Veterinarian.

“Even if they would just maybe go for a minor swim or walk into the water, that is enough exposure to actually kill an animal,” she said. 

According to Tillman, symptoms to look for in pets and livestock that may have been exposed to the toxins can include excessive salivation, vomiting, and staggered walking — they can even have difficulty breathing, and have convulsions. She noted that exposure to the harmful cyanobacterial bloom can ultimately result in liver failure for animals.

“Animals can actually die pretty quickly after an exposure to cyanotoxins,” she notes. 

And sadly, there is no treatment or cure to counteract exposure to HCBs.

“The treatment is mostly supportive care,” Tillman explains. “There’s no antidote for the toxins.” Hurshman said reports of HCBs have increased dramatically in the last five years.“

They have become more prominent with warmer temperatures,” she said, “in addition to additional nutrients in the reservoirs from runoff. Nitrogen and phosphorus are nutrients that cyanobacteria thrive in, as well as warm temperatures and sunlight.”

Hurshman said the nitrogen and phosphorus that feed cyanobacteria can be from fertilizer as well as other pollutants, such as manure and other substances contained in runoff.

To protect yourself, your family, and your pets, Dr. Hasel urges people to be on the lookout around large bodies of water.

“You essentially need to watch for any kind of algae or growth along the edges of wherever you’re at, whether it’s a lake or a pond or a body of water that doesn’t have a lot of movement to it typically,” she said.

But Dr. Hasel pointed out that not all algae is harmful. 

“You need to stay up-to-date on areas that have been declared harmful for Wyoming,” she said referring residents to the Department of Environmental Quality’s page that details HCB blooms that have been reported.

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Man Attacked By Bull Moose In Colorado While Running With His Dogs

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

An older New Mexico man was attacked this week by a bull moose while running with his two dogs on a trail in central Colorado, according to wildlife officials.

The 62-year-old man was running on a trail around 7:30 a.m. Wednesday with his two dogs off-leash when the attack occurred.

He was taken to the emergency room of a Winter Park hospital with minor injuries and released later that day. His two dogs were unharmed.

“The dogs were 40 to 50 feet in front of him and came running back toward him,” said Colorado Parks and Wildlife District Wildlife Manager Serena Rocksund. “He stopped and saw the moose at 50 feet. At that point, the dogs ran past him and left the scene.”

Rocksund said the man reported he took two steps forward to get a better look at the moose and “those two steps caused the moose to charge.”

“He’s very lucky that his only injury is a hoof print-shaped laceration on the back of his head,” she said.

She added wildlife officers did not find the moose after walking the trail system around the area he was attacked.

“This is a good reminder for folks to keep their dogs on leash and give moose plenty of space when recreating outdoors,” Rocksund said. “It’s hard to see around these corners with the thick vegetation on these trails, so having a dog on a short leash here is key.”

A 79-year-old woman was attacked by a cow moose and severely injured in Colorado earlier this month. The woman was dog-sitting for one of the tenants living at the house when she saw an adult female moose and its two calves in the yard. When the woman no longer saw the moose in the area later that evening and believed it to be safe, she took the dog out on a leash in the yard. 

In early August, a man walking along a willow bottom heading towards a lake in Clear Creek County, Colorado, was charged by a bull moose he just happened to come across. That man came away uninjured as he dived behind a tree, which the bull moose hit.

In May, a man was knocked over on his back and stomped by a cow moose with two calves. The victim stated that his small dog was outside unleashed when he heard it start barking and realized there was a moose in the area. He stepped forward to grab the dog and that is when the moose charged at him. That man was examined for minor injuries on site.

Fifteen years ago on March 26, 2006, a man from Grand Lake was attacked and critically injured by a bull moose as he walked to church. That man later died from his injuries on April 6. 

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Moose Calf Rescued From Burned Out Basement, Reunited With Mother

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A moose calf was rescued from a burned out basement and reunited with its mother in northern Colorado late last week, officials announced Monday.

The calf was trapped in the foundation of a house in Grand Lake that burned during last year’s East Troublesome Fire. Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers received a call on the morning of Aug. 19 from residents in the house’s neighborhood reporting that a moose calf had fallen into the 4-foot deep foundation that was left when the rest of the structure burned.

The neighbors tried to rescue the calf themselves by creating a ramp with boards that might have allowed the calf to climb out, but it was unable to get enough traction to make the steep climb.

CPW Officer Serena Rocksund responded to the calls for help and found the calf’s agitated mother nearby. 

“The calf’s mother would come up to the foundation, walk over to the calf and touch muzzles and walk away about 40 yards,” Rocksund said. “The residents saw the calf and mother were stressed and needed help so they called CPW.”

Rocksund tranquilized both the cow moose and calf and the calf was removed from the basement. Then both animals were placed inside a wildlife transport trailer to be relocated to more suitable habitat.

The two were released in near Craig, Colorado, later that afternoon.

“It’s a good reminder that folks need to fence off foundations and cover their window wells because animals can get trapped and die,” said CPW Area Wildlife Manager Jeromy Huntington. “We’ve had some increased reports of human-moose conflicts near Grand Lake since the East Troublesome Fire burn and we didn’t want to take the risk that this moose might get trapped again if we released it near the burn area.”

Huntington said CPW has been working to grow the moose population near Craig and Meeker, Colorado.

“So this relocation actually was a win-win for these moose and the CPW project,” Huntington said.

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Elderly Woman Stomped, Severely Injured By Moose In Colorado

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

An elderly woman was severely injured late last week when she was stomped by a cow moose in western Colorado, according to wildlife officials.

The 79-year-old woman was injured late Friday night in a rural area outside a home south of Glenwood Springs.

According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the woman was dog-sitting for one of the tenants living at the house when she saw an adult female moose and its two calves in the yard. When the woman no longer saw the moose in the area later that evening and believed it to be safe, she took the dog out on a leash in the yard. 

That is when the attack occurred. Another resident of the house then observed the cow stomping on the victim.

The woman was taken to a local hospital and later that same night transported by helicopter to another hospital on the Front Range due to the extent of her injuries and care required.

“The incident occurred in an area of quality moose habitat and it is known that the moose frequent this area year-round,” Area Wildlife Manager Matt Yamashita said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the woman. This incident was no fault of her own. Conflicts with moose can happen, even when you follow best practices for living in moose habitat.”

The cow and its two calves have reportedly been in the area for an extended period of time without incident. No previous aggressive behavior has been reported. 

Wildlife officers searched the area for the cow and its calves on Saturday, Sunday and into Monday. They were using photos and videos of the moose from residents recorded on the day of the attack to try and identify physical characteristics or traits that could be used to identify the correct animal involved in the incident. 

Discussions with surrounding residents revealed that there are multiple sets of cows with calves in the area, making it challenging to locate the animal involved in the attack.

Wildlife officers have since discontinued an active search for the moose involved in the attack unless new information arises.

“This likely was an incident of a cow protecting her calves,” Yamashita said. “Since Friday night we have been talking with the local residents to educate them about living in moose habitat, the potential dangers associated with interacting with moose and actions they can take to minimize the risk of conflict.”

Earlier this month, a man walking along a willow bottom heading toward a lake in central Colorado was charged by a bull moose he just happened to come across. That man came away uninjured as he dived behind a tree, which the bull moose hit.

In late May in Steamboat Springs, a man was knocked onto his back and stomped by a cow moose with two calves.

The victim stated that his small dog was outside unleashed when he heard it start barking and realized there was a moose in the area. He stepped forward to grab the dog and that is when the moose charged at him. That man was examined for minor injuries on site.

Fifteen years ago on March 26, 2006, a man from Grand Lake was attacked and critically injured by a bull moose as he walked to church. That man died from his injuries a couple weeks later.

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Colorado Man Busted For Late-Night Poaching

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A Colorado man was sentenced to pay more than $3,300 in fines for poaching multiple big game animals.

Dylan Zuber, 23, of Grand Junction was charged with 20 counts of wildlife violations, including willful destruction of wildlife and the illegal possession of three or more big game animals. He pleaded guilty to one count each of willful destruction of wildlife, illegal possession of three or more big game animals and hunting with artificial light on July 26.

As part of the adjudication of the criminal case, Zuber was ordered to donate $2,500 to Colorado Operation Game Thief and pay $3,360.50 in fines and court costs.

In June 2020, CPW Officer Zac Chrisman received information from an anonymous party suggesting Zuber and a friend had poached a buck and doe mule deer on Piñon Mesa in Mesa County. On the same night, Zuber’s friend was in a fatal rollover vehicle accident.

In the following days, Chrisman, with the help of other wildlife officers in Grand Junction, was able to locate the carcasses of a buck and doe mule deer in locations consistent with the report.

Over the course of the investigation, more illegal animals were discovered, and it became obvious that this was not the first time Zuber had killed wildlife illegally.

After a thorough investigation, wildlife officers filed the case with the Mesa County District Attorney’s Office.

“I would like to thank the Mesa County District Attorney’s Office for their hard work and dedication on this important case,” Chrisman said. “Poachers who steal wildlife from law-abiding citizens will not be tolerated.”

A Mesa County judge sentenced Zuber to a four-year deferred judgement for the felony charge of willful destruction of wildlife, which includes a court ordered prohibition of hunting and possession of firearms as well as 50 hours of community service.

Zuber’s conviction makes him eligible for suspension of all hunting, fishing, and trapping privileges in Colorado and the other 47 states in the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact. This possible suspension will be determined at a later date.

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Colorado Wildlife Officers Relocate Moose From Parking Garage

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A young bull moose that made itself at home in Vail, Colorado, was tranquilized in a parking garage and removed from the area Tuesday, Colorado Parks and Wildlife the department announced this week.

The moose is being relocated to a remote area about 120 miles north in a more appropriate moose habitat. Wildlife officers estimated it to be 2 to 3 years old.

The behavior of the moose indicated it was becoming accustomed to the area and was reluctant to leave on its own, so wildlife officers concluded relocation was the best move.

“Everything went smoothly this morning, no issues,” Wildlife Officer Devin Duval said. “We were definitely within that human health and safety realm where there could potentially be an injury to a human or the animal. That is the reason we decided to move it.”

Calls started trickling in a month ago related to the moose frequenting a few of Vail’s neighborhoods.

“Largely, most of these neighborhoods coincide with really optimal moose habitat, notwithstanding the fact there are a lot of pedestrians and human activity,” Duval said. “Moose are not fully concerned with that, they usually are unencumbered by the activity here in Vail.”

Wildlife officers kept an eye on on the moose for the better part of the month, but within the last 10 days, it started frequenting the ground level of the parking garages.

He was seen licking the walls structures, presumably for all the deicing agents that are used on the upper-story decks of the parking structure.

CPW worked closely with the Town of Vail to remove residual salts that may have served as an attractant, but the moose continued to remain in the area.  

“He was pretty regularly coming into the parking structure first thing in the morning and then would kind of clear out before it got too busy,” Duval said.

Wildlife officers did not feel the moose was acting aggressively, but it was agitated by the presence of dogs.

Wildlife officers decided to relocate the bull from the parking garage when it started spending the majority of the day in the area.

“This moose was not electing to spend time elsewhere, but now people can be at ease walking to work through that garage and the moose will be moved to more appropriate habitat,” Duval said.

The Vail Fire Department, Police Department and crews from the Vail Public Works Department all aided in moving the moose out of the garage. Wildlife officers estimated the bull to be 750 pounds.

“Coincidentally, it is kind of a serendipitous scenario in that our wildlife officials there were looking for some help with some translocation, so those folks are going to take this moose and find some more appropriate habitat for him,” Duval said.

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Colorado Woman Bit By Coyote Pup After Trying To Pet, Play With It

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A Colorado woman was bitten by a coyote pup on Tuesday after she and a number of other people were trying to pet and play with it.

While the woman only received minor injuries from the bite, she is now going through rabies treatment, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials. The incident took place in Yuma, near the Kansas and Nebraska borders.

Wildlife officers became aware of the incident after receiving a call from the doctor’s office where the woman was examined after the incident.

Upon investigation, officers determined the young coyote had been fed by people in the area, causing it to become used to humans.

When wildlife officers went to seize the coyote, which had been taken into the shop of another individual, the coyote was wearing a dog collar with a leash.

“This case should serve as a reminder to leave baby wildlife alone and to not feed wildlife,” said Wildlife Officer Josh Melby. “The lady who got bit is going through rabies shots now, which is unpleasant and expensive.”

The coyote pup was killed so a brain sample could be submitted to the Northeast Colorado Health Department for rabies testing, but the results are still pending.

Rabies is a fatal disease of the nervous system. The only way to test for it is through laboratory examination of brain tissue from an animal..

There is no effective treatment for rabies; however, a series of vaccinations and treatments immediately following exposure may prevent an infection in humans.

The feeding of big game animals in Colorado, including coyotes and foxes, is illegal.

Fines start at $100 plus surcharges, but the real consequences often come to members in the community, who may or may not even have taken part in the illegal feeding, CPW officials said.

When wildlife are fed by humans, the animals become habituated and expect to receive a food reward from people. That can lead to aggressive behavior by the animals and even attacks.

Wildlife officers across the state see the problem frequently with deer, elk, bears, coyotes, foxes and more, the CPW said. 

CPW reminds citizens that all wildlife is just that, wild, and animals can act unpredictably.

Wildlife experts urged the public to always leave young wildlife alone and to never attempt to feed wild animals, whether directly by putting out food for them or indirectly by having food sources around your home that they can access.

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