Grand Teton relocates grizzly after ‘irresponsible’ human behavior

MOOSE, Wyo. — Grand Teton National Park staff recently relocated a subadult grizzly bear within the park after the bear received a food reward in two incidents due to irresponsible human actions, the park said today.

On June 11 a visitor reported that a grizzly bear walked through a Grassy Lake Road campsite, sniffed a picnic table and unoccupied tent, and put its paws on the tent. No damage was done to the tent. Visitors yelled at the bear and the bear ran away.

On June 12 Teton Interagency Dispatch Center received a report of visitors feeding a grizzly bear from a vehicle south of Lizard Creek Campground.

On June 13 Teton Interagency Dispatch Center received a report of a grizzly bear gaining access to unattended trash and a drink at a campsite located on the outer loop of the Headwaters Campground.

All reports and evidence indicated that the same grizzly bear was involved with each incident. Late on June 13 park staff captured the grizzly bear along the Grassy Lake Road. On June 14, the bear was collared and biological samples were collected. The bear is a young male that is approximately 2.5 years old.

The bear was relocated early Tuesday morning, June 15, via boat to the west side of Jackson Lake.

A food storage violation citation with a mandatory court appearance was issued to the individual that had the unattended trash and drink. The reported feeding of the bear from a vehicle is under investigation.

“Feeding wildlife is illegal and dangerous, and we take these incidents very seriously,” said Grand Teton National Park Superintendent Chip Jenkins. “The impacts of irresponsible behavior can have very negative effects for humans and wildlife.”

Bears that obtain human food may lose their natural fear of humans and may seek out humans and human-developed areas as an easy source of food. As a result, bears may become aggressive towards people and have to be killed.

The proper storage of food items and responsible picnicking are critical in bear country. Picnickers should only have immediate use items out so that if a bear approaches, food items can be quickly gathered and the opportunity for the bear to receive a food reward is removed. Visitors should store food and scented items in bear-resistant food lockers that are located throughout the park or in a hard-sided vehicle. Deposit trash in bear-resistant receptacles and do not burn waste in fire rings or leave litter in campsites.

The park asks visitors to report bear activity along roadways and in developed areas and human-bear interactions to a nearby park ranger or visitor center. Park visitors should follow regulations related to human and wildlife safety. For more information, visit the park’s Safety in Bear Country page.

About The Author

Buckrail @ Shannon

Shannon is a Wyoming-raised writer and reporter pursuing a master's in journalism at Boston University. Jackson shaped her into an outdoorswoman, but a love for language and the human condition compels her to write. She believes there's no story too small to tell nor adventure too small to take.

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