A black bear at Glacier National Park in Montana was put down after it developed a taste for human food and lost its fear of park visitors, according to park staff.
According to a park release, the bear was killed in the Many Glacier areas on Thursday after it had eaten human food and displayed behavior that could put people at risk.
The black bear was seen moving through Many Glacier Campground on Saturday, August 28th. It was not responsive to attempts at moving it from campsites. The bear was seen grabbing apples from an open trunk the next day while people were packing their vehicles nearby. The bear was then seen eating the apples at the campsite and showed little fear of humans.
The park staff tried to verbally haze out the bear from the campground but the bear decided to stop at another campsite, where people were making breakfast. The release stated that the bear returned to camp half an hour after being hazed into the woods.
Photographs and visitor reports suggest that this bear could have been the one who approached people last week and displayed unusual behavior near Grinnell lake. This led to the closure of the Grinnell lake trail on August 25. Both DNA samples from the two sites will be tested to see if they are identical.
The adult female bear was caught in a trap close to the Many Glacier housing area on Wednesday, September 1.
The bear was killed in accordance with Glacier National Park’s Bear Management Plan and after consultation with park wildlife biologists. The bear was approximately four years old and weighed 120 pounds. It was otherwise in good health, according to a field necropsy.
Due to bear presence, many Glacier Campground restricted campers from hard-sided vehicles. Campers of all types are now welcome to camp at the campground, even tents.
Food-conditioned bears are those who have tried to obtain human food, damaged property, or shown aggressive behavior towards humans. They are then removed from the wild. The release stated that the bear’s behavior and success in acquiring human food led to the decision to remove him from the park.
A bear that has been food-conditioned is unlikely to change its behavior. Hazing and aversive conditioning, as well as hazing, are unlikely to succeed in changing this type of behavior. Human safety concerns prevent the relocation of food-conditioned bears.
Due to their abundance in the United States, black bears are not suitable candidates for animal capture facilities like zoos or animal parks.
It is important that visitors keep developed areas and campgrounds clean and free from food and trash. Residents and businesses in the area are reminded that they must secure any non-natural food sources, including garbage, animal feed, birdseed, or hummingbird feeders.
Please do not stop if you see a bear on the road. If you stop and watch the bears along the road, it will cause a “bear jam”, as other drivers follow your example. Bear jams are dangerous for both bears and humans as they reduce visibility, limit the bear’s movement, and increase the chance of bears approaching people or cars in the future. All bear sightings should be reported to the nearest ranger.
Glacier National Park is home to both black and gray bears. Hikers are encouraged to travel in groups and to make noise while hiking.