Contact: Mark Bruscino (307) 527-7125 For Immediate Release: Wyoming Game and Fish Dept.
HUMAN FOOD CONDITIONED GRIZZLY EUTHANIZED NW OF CODY APRIL 12
CODY - After three attempts to break into ranch buildings last week and a track record of human food conditioned and destructive behaviors, a young adult male grizzly bear was euthanized April 12 on the upper Clark's Fork River northwest of Cody.
The Game and Fish Department was alerted after the bear broke windows and damaged two buildings the night of April 8th along U.S. Highway 212 near the Montana border. A culvert trap was set April 9th, but before Powell Game Warden Mac Black captured the bear on the night of April 11, the 400-pound bear had broken another window in an attempt to obtain human food.
Judging from the track and behavior pattern, the G&F is confident it is the same bear that has a history of break-ins, including a tack room with horse feed, several outbuildings and a grain shed last spring. The evidence fit the pattern of numerous attempted break-ins in the area the past few years.
Because the approximate 5-year-old bear had made the association between human dwellings and food, it was not suitable for relocation according to Mark Bruscino, G&F grizzly bear officer. He said once grizzly bears get a "food reward" they continue to seek human foods and human dwellings, pose a human safety risk and continue to damage property, so relocating the bear was not an option.
Black is hopeful the incident is not signaling a bad spring for bear conflicts. He said a good crop of white-bark pine nuts last fall should leave the bears in good enough condition following hibernation, that hopefully, they will not be resorting to human areas in search of food.
"I believe this was a bear whose bad habits had become deeply ingrained over the last several years because of numerous food rewards," Black said.
This is the first human/grizzly conflict reported in Wyoming this spring. The bear will be used for educational purposes.
To reduce future conflicts, the G&F and Shoshone National Forest urge residents and visitors to grizzly country to take steps to prevent bears from receiving human food.
That includes feeding dogs inside, hanging bird feeders out of a grizzly's reach and making sure trash is stored in bear-proof containers. In camps, store all attractants in a manner that makes them unavailable to bears and follow Forest Service regulations to help prevent conflicts
"These efforts will benefit human safety by not enticing bears to rural homes or camps and help prevent bears from being removed from the population like this recent management action," said Becky Aus, Shoshone National Forest supervisor.
The G&F and forest service are continuing to assist rural communities in grizzly country with preventing and managing human-bear conflicts.
Contact your local G&F or forest service office for help.