Montana explains why it killed Yellowstone-area grizzly bear

A grizzly bear that became increasingly habituated to humans was euthanized Wednesday, a day after its capture in Montana’s Gardiner Basin near Yellowstone National Park.

On Friday, the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Department explained in a news release that the adult female bear had a growing history of conflicts and had been relocated twice before its capture Tuesday on private land.

“In the weeks prior to the capture, the bear had broken into a fenced compound, frequented a home that had no unsecured attractants or natural foods, and killed chickens secured by electric fencing,” FWP stated. “The bear was largely undeterred by hazing efforts, which included rubber bullets, paintballs, electric fencing and noise-making devices.”

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The decision to euthanize the bear was made in consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (The bear had a small cub, which will be placed in a zoo.)

FWP stated that bear activity is high as the animals feed intensively in the weeks leading to hibernation, and that conflicts with humans have recently spiked.

On Tuesday, the same day as the Gardiner Basin capture, an adult male grizzly bear was shot and killed west of Emigrant by hunters who said they were acting in self defense.

On. Sept. 14, hunters reported being charged by a grizzly bear in the Tom Miner Basin. One hunter shot the bear with a pistol. A subsequent search involving ground and helicopter crews failed to locate the injured animal.

Conflicts with black bears, FWP stated, also have increased in residential areas such as Bozeman, Big Sky, Belgrade, Helena and Butte.
Several black bears were euthanized after gaining access to unsecured attractants, creating a public safety threat.

FWP explained that all of Montana is bear country and that securing attractants, such as garbage, bird feeders, and pet food, could help prevent bears from becoming habituated.

In the wilderness, hunters and hikers should always carry bear spray and take appropriate steps to prevent surprise encounters.

–Generic grizzly bear image is courtesy of Yellowstone National Park

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Story originally appeared on For The Win