Saturday, August 24, 2013

Aggressive Black Bear Destroyed in Bighorn Canyon NRA

NPS Digest published a report yesterday announcing that an aggressive bear had to be destroyed in the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area. On August 9th, a 120-pound female black bear was killed at Black Canyon Campground in a joint operation by rangers and Montana Fish and Wildlife officers.

Over the last three years, this black bear had gotten into unsecured food and coolers brought in by day users and campers at this popular campground on Bighorn Lake, and recently displayed aggressive behavior toward people. Black Canyon has been closed to the public at various times during past years due to this bear, and was just recently closed to the public on July 26th. Bear activity in the area had been monitored by rangers since this most recent closure.

While monitoring the closed area, this same bear reappeared. A ranger shot a rubber slug deterrent round at the bear, hitting it front and center; although the bear ran into some brush, it came back out five minutes later. The ranger then shot a second rubber slug deterrent round at the bear, hitting it in the back. The bear again ran away, but returned within fifteen minutes.

A decision was made by park management in conjunction with the park’s standard operating procedures and step-up plan that the bear would need to be killed due to its habituation to humans and human food and its lack of significant response to the deterrent rounds fired by the rangers.

During an investigation of this latest occurrence, a 22-year-old woman was cited for feeding wildlife after she admitted to throwing a hotdog to the bear prior to the area closure. Other food storage violations are being investigated.

Hiking in Glacier National Park

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