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Black bear euthanized at Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park
Posted at 8:18 AM, Sep 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-03 10:18:49-04

WEST GLACIER — A black bear was euthanized on Thursday in the Many Glacier area of Glacier National Park after getting human foods and showing behavior that was a risk for humans.

Many Glacier Campground recently restricted campers to hard-sided vehicles because of the bear but is now open to all camper types including tents.

The black bear was reported moving through the Many Glacier Campground on Aug. 28 "and was not readily responsive to attempts to move it out of campsites," according to a news release.

Park officials say the bear returned on Sunday and was seen taking apples out of an open trunk while visitors were nearby packing their vehicle. The bear then proceeded to eat the apples at the campsite, showing little fear of humans.

While park staff attempted to verbally haze the bear out of the campground, the bear tried to stop at another campsite where people were preparing breakfast and after being hazed out into the woods, returned half an hour later.

Based on photographs and visitor reports, it is possible this could be the same bear that was approaching people and exhibiting unusual behavior near Grinnell Lake last week, resulting in the closure of the Grinnell Lake trail on Aug. 25, the news release states.

DNA samples collected from both sites will be tested and compared to determine if the same animal was involved in both incidents.

The adult female bear was trapped in a culvert trap near the Many Glacier housing area on Wednesday and after consulting with park wildlife biologists, the bear was euthanized.

The bear was estimated to be around four years old and weighed approximately 120 pounds. A field necropsy revealed it to be in otherwise healthy condition.

Park officials note that once a bear has become food-conditioned, hazing and aversive conditioning are unlikely to be successful in reversing the behavior. Additionally, food-conditioned bears are not relocated due to human safety concerns.

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, birdseed, and hummingbird feeders.

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. Click here for more information about recreating in bear country.