Two grizzly bears have been euthanized after multiple conflicts in campsites and at residences near West Yellowstone.
Conflicts with the two subadult grizzlies — a male and a female — began in 2019. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks staff worked to haze the bears then, and at the time, the efforts to move them away from residential areas was thought to be successful.
Reports of problems with these bears started again on Aug. 5, and by the time the bears were last captured on Sept. 1, there were 15 reports of two bears being in campgrounds at night, inside porches and on steps, where they were able to access garbage and dog food.
FWP bear specialists set cameras and noise alarms at two sites where the bears gained access to garbage. When those hazing efforts were unsuccessful, the specialists set traps for the bears on Aug. 15, and both were captured a day later. FWP, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the U.S. Forest Service agreed to relocate and release the bears due to their young age and because this was their first time being captured. Both bears were fitted with ear tags and satellite collars.
The bears then returned to the area where the conflicts had occurred previously, and on Aug. 25, the problems resumed, including the bears getting into an occupied tent, as well as a storage compartment on an RV.
FWP captured both bears again on Sept. 1.
Due to the chronic conflicts and concerns for human safety, the bears were euthanized in consultation with the USFWS.
“When garbage and other attractants are left unsecured and available to bears, human safety becomes a huge concern, and bear mortalities are the unfortunate result. This is why we ask people to be so careful with food, garbage, and similar items. It really requires just a little effort,” said Mark Deleray, FWP’s regional supervisor in southwest Montana.
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