Glacier National Park Rangers and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologists captured and euthanized a black bear in the Polebridge area on Wednesday, October 5, after numerous incidents in which the bear broke into vehicles, raided trash storage areas and caused damage trying to access a residence. The bear broke vehicle windows and pulled off car door handles to gain access into at least four cars and trucks, including a vehicle in the park. The bear obtained a food reward in most of these incidents.
The female bear was six years old and weighed 241 pounds, and had been previously captured in downtown Kalispell in June of 2008, after it was seen in the Woodland Park area. The bear was tagged and released in McGinnis Creek in the North Fork of the Flathead, and has not been involved in any other management situations since.
After the recent incidents in the Polebridge area, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologists and park rangers set traps and captured the suspect animal. After consultation between Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologists and Glacier National Park personnel and verification that the correct animal had been captured, the bear was euthanized. This action is consistent with state and federal bear management plans.
This bear was determined to be a conditioned bear and a potential threat to human safety. 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. Conditioned bears are not relocated.
Black bears are not good candidates for animal capture facilities such as zoos and animal parks due to the plentiful nature of the species and the large number of problem black bears throughout the United States.
Bears will go to great lengths to obtain foods, particularly in the fall during their pre-denning hyperphagia or hyper-eating period. In the fall, bears will consume 20,000-30,000 calories per day in order to gain the fat reserves needed for winter.
To keep bears wild, people need to remain vigilant about securing attractants such as birdfeeders, trash, and pet and livestock feeds. It is also important to pick fruits such as apples, pears and plums as soon as the fruit is ripe, and to remove any fruit on the ground.
Visitors to Glacier National Park are reminded that the park is home to 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 http://www.nps.gov/glac/naturescience/bears.htm.
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