KALISPELL – A recent decision to euthanize two yearling grizzly bears who became conditioned to humans and food has led to state wildlife officials urging residents to do their part and avoid circumstances like this.
The two animals were captured near Whitefish Lake after several instances of killing livestock and damaging property.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesman Dillon Tabish said that once a bear begins eating domestic chickens, it stops foraging for food in the wild, creating a habituated bear that is unsafe for humans.
He added the decision to euthanize any bear is never an easy decision, and officials always try every other alternative first.
“When our bear managers decide what to do with a bear, they look at a number of factors,” Tabish explained.
“They look at the intensity of the conflict, they look at if this bear has a history of conflict, if it’s been a repeat offender […] at what its chances of succeeding, so to speak, will be,” he added.
FWP attempted to relocate the same bears last fall after causing damage, but within a week they returned to the valley and killed additional chickens and extensive property damage.
FWP says you can do your part to help, and if you have chickens and livestock on your property, use an electric fence to keep bear out.
Also, wait to put your garbage out for pick up the morning of — not the night before. This gives the bears less time and access to garbage.
-Reported by Maren Siu/MTN News