Highly food conditioned grizzly bear euthanized in GTNP

MOOSE, Wyo. — For public safety, Grand Teton National Park officials, in coordination with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, euthanized a highly food-conditioned, four-year-old female grizzly bear on Saturday, Oct. 16, announced GTNP today, Oct. 19.

“This action was taken after the bear received numerous food rewards from unsecured sources, causing it to exhibit increasingly bold behavior. This behavior caused the bear to pose a threat to human safety and therefore it was removed from the population,” the park said.

According to the park, over the course of two years, the grizzly received multiple food rewards and demonstrated escalating conflict behavior. In October of 2020, the bear accessed numerous unsecured attractants at a private residence south of the park. During the fall of 2021, the grizzly received additional food rewards on private lands and caused property damage. The bear eventually became more emboldened in attempts to obtain human food, breaking into bear-resistant dumpsters in Grand Teton National Park.

Once a bear receives a human food reward, it can become food-conditioned. Food rewards can include human food, trash, livestock feed, compost, pet food, beehives, etc. Over time, food-conditioned bears may become bold or aggressive in their attempts to obtain human food, as was the case with this bear.

Park officials made the decision to capture and remove the animal as per Interagency Grizzly Bear guidelines and per the park bear and wildlife management plan. On Oct. 16, the grizzly bear was captured by Grand Teton park staff and euthanized.

The park released the following timeline of conflict behavior:
Oct. 5, 2020, Based on GPS collar data, localized at a private residence south of the park.
Oct.  9 – 16, 2020 Based on GPS collar data, localized at a private residence south of the park.
Oct. 21, 2020, Based on GPS collar data, localized at a private residence south of the park.
Sept. 3, 2021, Received food reward of chicken feed on private lands.
Sept.  4, 2021, Received food reward of chicken feed on private lands.
Sept.  12, 2021, Caused property damage on private lands.
Sept. 14, 2021, Caused property damage on private lands.
Sept. 16, 2021, Received food reward of bird and livestock feed on private lands.
Sept. 24, 2021, Received food reward of garbage on private lands.
Sept.  25, 2021, Received food reward of garbage on private lands.
Sept. 26, 2021, Received food reward of garbage on private lands.
Oct. 4, 2021, Caused property damage and received food reward of garbage on private lands.
Oct. 5, 2021, Received food reward of garbage on private lands.
Oct. 7, 2021, Received food reward of garbage from bear-resistant trash can in Grand Teton.
Oct. 9, 2021, Received food reward of garbage on private lands.
Oct.  10, 2021, Received food reward of garbage from bear-resistant dumpster in Grand Teton.

“You can make a difference in a bear’s life by doing your part to ensure bears never obtain human foods, whether you call the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) home or are just passing through. Odors attract bears. By storing attractants so bears cannot gain access and securing all trash in a bear-resistant dumpster, you can make sure a bear does not receive human foods. As the grizzly bear population continues to expand in the southern end of the GYE, bears continue to disperse outside of Grand Teton National Park,” the park said.

Residents of local communities are encouraged to secure attractants around their homes. Store all garbage within bear-resistant containers. Secure livestock feed, compost, and beehives. Ensure bird feeders are ten feet up and four feet out from any building. Avoid planting fruit trees. Help your neighbors create a bear-wise community to protect wildlife. It may be cliché; however, more often than not, “a fed bear is a dead bear.”

About The Author

Buckrail @ Lindsay

Lindsay Vallen is a Community News Reporter covering a little bit of everything; with an interest in politics, wildlife, and amplifying community voices. Originally from the east coast, Lindsay has called Wilson, Wyoming home since 2017. In her free time, she enjoys snowboarding, hiking, cooking, and completing the Jackson Hole Daily crosswords.

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