WYOMING – Wildlife managers with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department euthanized a black bear Sunday morning after it received repeated human-provided food rewards in the Sibley Lake campground in the Bighorn National Forest.
The bear, a male estimated to be four or five years old, visited the campground Friday evening and was able to access food left out by campers. The bear fed on hotdogs and other snacks from a cooler that had been left outside overnight at one camp. It then was similarly rewarded at another campsite where creamer, apples and bread had been left out.
A trap was set for the bear on Saturday. It entered the trap when it returned to the campground that night.
“I made a trip through Sibley Lake campground Saturday evening and it was completely full,” said Dayton District Game Warden Dustin Shorma. “Bears usually would avoid an area like that with lots of human commotion. However, when it came through Friday night, it was able to get food left out by campers, which encouraged it to return again Saturday night.”
Shorma visited with several campers about putting their food, barbeque grills and other attractants away, but noticed more than one campsite had food and coolers left outside with no one in the vicinity. He said the campground host had also visited with campers about properly storing food.
It is likely this is the same bear that visited the campground the weekend of July 28-29 and attempted to access trash bins and coolers. It is also likely this was the same bear that entered Prune Creek campground the nights of August 1 and 2 and was able to access cookies and sausages left available by campers.
“Euthanizing a bear is the last resort and no one likes to do it,” said Shorma. “It is always unpleasant to kill a healthy animal. But after a bear has repeatedly received food made available by humans, that bear’s behavior changes. It will continue to seek out areas with humans, knowing that food can be found there. This is obviously a dangerous situation. Once that happens, our options for managing that bear are few.”
To prevent attracting a bear to camp and creating an unsafe situation for yourself and other campers, please secure all garbage, barbecue grills, food items, flavored beverages, pet food and other attractants in a vehicle or hard-sided camper before going to sleep at night and any time you leave the campsite.
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