WEST GLACIER – A food-conditioned grizzly bear has been euthanized in Glacier National Park.
Park officials — in coordination with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service — euthanized the five-year-old female grizzly bear on Thursday, July 20, 2023.
The decision was made after the bear received multiple food rewards from unsecured sources, causing it to exhibit increasingly aggressive behavior, a news release states.
The grizzly was reported moving through the Many Glacier Campground on June 27 where she obtained unsecured human food from a campsite picnic table.
The campground was then restricted to hard-sided camping only. Staff hazed the grizzly out of the campground on two later occasions.
The campground reopened to all camper types on Monday, July 10 after radio tracking showed the bear was no longer in the immediate area for several days.
Park officials say the bear appeared at the Swiftcurrent Lake Boat Launch on July 18, where she aggressively charged a family picnicking on the shoreline.
The family was able to secure food items. However, the bear successfully obtained beverages that were left cooling in the lake.
A decision was made to capture and remove the animal as per the park’s bear management plan and on July 20, the grizzly was euthanized near Lake Sherburne.
This is the first food-conditioned grizzly bear to be euthanized in the park since 2009, the news release notes.
The bear was radio-collared in 2019 as part of a grizzly bear population trend study in which the park monitors up to 10 radio-collared female grizzly bears.
There are an estimated 300 grizzly bears in Glacier National Park.
Numerous state and federal agencies work together to manage and recover the grizzly bear population in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem, which includes Glacier National Park.
Park visitors can help ensure the future of grizzly bears by taking steps to prevent bears from becoming food conditioned.
People should not stop along roadways in the vicinity of bears, secure all food and garbage and report all bear sightings to the nearest ranger.
Visit http://www.nps.gov/glac/naturescience/bears.htm for more information about recreating in bear country.
Earlier this week, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks euthanized a grizzly bear at the Hungry Horse Reservoir.