Bear euthanized after becoming ‘highly food-conditioned,’ bold in Grand Teton

National

A bear (not pictured) attacked a hiker at Yellowstone National Park on May 28, marking the first such incident in almost a year. (Getty Images)

MOOSE, Wyo. (ABC4) – A “highly food-conditioned” grizzly bear has been euthanized in Grand Teton National Park after it began exhibiting “increasingly bold behavior.”

Officials euthanized the four-year-old female on Saturday, saying the bear’s behavior posed a threat to human safety. Over a two-year period, the grizzly bear received multiple food rewards from unsecured sources, prompting its behavior.

In October 2020, the bear accessed numerous unsecured attractants at a private home south of the park, rangers say. Then, during this fall, the grizzly has received additional food rewards on private lands and caused property damage.

Eventually, officials say the bear made more attempts to get human food by breaking into bear-resistant dumpsters at Grand Teton. Once a bear receives a human food reward like human food, trash, livestock feed, compost, pet foods, or beehives, officials say it can become food-conditioned. As bears become food-conditioned, they can become bold or aggressive in trying to get human food.

Because of the bear’s behavior, park officials decided to capture it and remove it per Interagency Grizzly Bear guidelines and per the park’s wildlife management plan.

Grand Teton National Park outlined the below timeline of the bear getting access to human food:

  • October 5, 2020 Based on GPS collar data, localized at a private residence south of the park.
  • October 9 – 16, 2020 Based on GPS collar data, localized at a private residence south of the park.
  • October 21, 2020 Based on GPS collar data, localized at a private residence south of the park.
  • September 3, 2021 Received food reward of chicken feed on private lands.
  • September 4, 2021 Received food reward of chicken feed on private lands.
  • September 12, 2021 Caused property damage on private lands.
  • September 14, 2021 Caused property damage on private lands.
  • September 16, 2021 Received food reward of bird and livestock feed on private lands.
  • September 24, 2021 Received food reward of garbage on private lands.
  • September 25, 2021 Received food reward of garbage on private lands.
  • September 26, 2021 Received food reward of garbage on private lands.
  • October 4, 2021 Caused property damage and received food reward of garbage on private lands.
  • October 5, 2021 Received food reward of garbage on private lands.
  • October 7, 2021 Received food reward of garbage from bear-resistant trash can in Grand Teton.
  • October 9, 2021 Received food reward of garbage on private lands.
  • October 10, 2021 Received food reward of garbage from bear-resistant dumpster in Grand Teton.

Officials explain that you can make a difference in a bear’s life by preventing them from getting your food. By storing attractants where bears cannot gain access and securing trash in bear-resistant dumpsters, you can help keep bears from becoming food-conditioned.

If you live in an area with bears, officials recommend securing your livestock feed, compost, and behives. It’s also important to make sure your bird feeders are ten feet up and four feet from any building. Additionally, you should avoid planting fruit trees.

“It may be cliché; however, more often than not, ‘a fed bear is a dead bear,'” officials remind.

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