Highly food conditioned grizzly bear euthanized: Public can help save bears by properly securing attractants

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GTNP 10-20-21

MOOSE, WY— For public safety, Grand Teton National Park officials, in coordination with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, euthanized a highly food-conditioned, four-year-old female grizzly bear on Saturday, October 16. This action was taken after the bear received numerous food rewards from unsecured sources, causing it to exhibit increasingly bold behavior. This behavior caused the bear to pose a threat to human safety and therefore it was removed from the population.

Over the course of two years, the grizzly received multiple food rewards and demonstrated escalating conflict behavior. In October of 2020, the bear accessed numerous unsecured attractants at a private residence south of the park. During the fall of 2021, the grizzly received additional food rewards on private lands and caused property damage. The bear eventually became more emboldened in attempts to obtain human food, breaking into bear-resistant dumpsters in Grand Teton National Park.

Once a bear receives a human food reward, it can become food conditioned. Food rewards can include human food, trash, livestock feed, compost, pet food, beehives, etc. Over time, food conditioned bears may become bold or aggressive in their attempts to obtain human food, as was the case with this bear.

Park officials made the decision to capture and remove the animal as per Interagency Grizzly Bear guidelines and per the park bear and wildlife management plan. On October 16, the grizzly bear was captured by Grand Teton park staff and euthanized.

Timeline of conflict behavior
• 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.

You can make a difference in a bear’s life by doing your part to ensure bears never obtain human foods, whether you call the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) home or are just passing through. Odors attract bears. By storing attractants so bears cannot gain access and securing all trash in a bear-resistant dumpster, you can make sure a bear does not receive human foods. As the grizzly bear population continues to expand in the southern end of the GYE, bears continue to disperse outside of Grand Teton National Park. Residents of local communities are encouraged to secure attractants around their homes. Store all garbage within bear-resistant containers. Secure livestock feed, compost, and beehives. Ensure bird feeders are ten feet up and four feet out from any building. Avoid planting fruit trees. Help your neighbors create a bear-wise community to protect wildlife. It may be cliché; however, more often than not, “a fed bear is a dead bear.”

For more information and helpful tips about how to do your part to protect bears, please visit the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee’s Residents webpage and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s Living in Bear Country webpage.

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