Glacier National Park rangers euthanized a black bear in the Lake McDonald Lodge area after learning it had broken into a concession employee housing cabin.
A press release states nobody was in the cabin at the time.
Officials said the bear matched the description and photos of a bear that had been reported numerous times in the area since Memorial Day weekend.
On Friday, May 24, a black bear was reported in the Lake McDonald Lodge horse corral eating unsecured horse feed. That same night and the following morning, the bear returned, exhibiting little fear of humans or horses, according to the press release.
Then on Sunday, May 26, a private landowner in the area reported a bear had pushed in porch screens and caused other property damage at a local residence. Another resident reported a black bear looking into their cabin windows.
For over a week, rangers spent hours in the Lake McDonald Lodge area locating the bear and using extensive aversive conditioning techniques to encourage the bear to seek out wild areas and natural food sources again. They made contact with the bear multiple times, according to the press release.
The male bear was euthanized consistent with Glacier National Park’s Bear Management Plan in consultation with park wildlife biologists. The bear was estimated to be around 9-years-old and approximately 150 pounds. A field necropsy revealed it to be in otherwise healthy condition.
Food-conditioned bears are those that have sought and obtained non-natural foods, destroyed property or displayed aggressive, non-defensive behavior towards humans and are removed from the wild. Food-conditioned bears are not relocated due to human safety concerns, according to officials.
Black bears are not good candidates for animal capture facilities such as zoos and animal parks due to the plentiful nature of the species throughout the United States.
Visitors are reminded to keep campgrounds and developed areas clean and free of food and trash. Local residents and businesses located in and around the park are reminded to secure all types of non-natural food sources including garbage, livestock, feed, pet food, bird seed, and hummingbird feeders.
Park officials asked visitors to not stop if they see a bear along the road.
“Stopping and watching roadside bears will likely start a ‘bear jam’ as other motorists follow your lead,” the press release states. “‘Bear jams’ are hazardous to both people and bears as visibility is reduced and bears may feel threatened by the congestion. Report all bear sightings to the nearest ranger.”
Glacier National Park is home to both black and grizzly bears. Hikers are highly encouraged to hike in groups, make noise when hiking, and have bear spray accessible and know how to use it. For more information about recreating in bear country, please visit here.