Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Bear euthanized after charging picnickers in Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park Rangers euthanized a black bear from the Two Medicine area on Friday, July 18, after several reports in which the bear exhibited apparent food-conditioned behavior, including an incident in which the bear charged a picnicking family.

On Thursday, July 17, the black bear approached a family that was eating at a picnic table at the Two Medicine Picnic Area. The family yelled and clapped hands, but the bear charged towards the table, and the family retreated to their vehicle. The bear consumed the food and left the area after a park ranger repeatedly hazed the bear with rubber bullets and bean bags.

This same black bear was observed digging in a fire pit in the area, and did not seem bothered by human presence. There were several sightings of the bear on and near to the park trail system along the shore of Two Medicine Lake. The bear was determined to be a food-conditioned bear, and a threat to human safety. Trail and picnic area closures were implemented in Two Medicine.

The bear was euthanized. This action is consistent with Glacier National Park’s Bear Management Plan. The male bear was approximately five years old and weighed approximately 225 pounds.

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.

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.

Park visitors are reminded to keep campgrounds and developed areas clean and free of food and trash. Regulations require that all edibles, food containers, and cookware be stored in a hard-sided vehicle or food locker when not in use, day or night. Place all trash in bear-proof containers. Do not burn waste in fire rings or leave litter around your camp. Fire rings should be free of trash before vacating a campsite.

If you see a bear along the road, park officials ask that you not stop. Stopping and watching roadside bears will likely start a "bear jam" as other motorists follow your lead. "Bear jams" are hazardous to both people and bears as visibility is reduced and bears may feel threatened by the congestion. You should report all bear sightings to the nearest ranger.

Visitors to Glacier National Park are also reminded that the 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 click here.



Jeff
Hiking in Glacier National Park

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