WEST GLACIER, MONT. – Yesterday, Glacier National Park Rangers euthanized a black bear in Apgar Village, a populated area of the Park, after several reports in which the bear exhibited apparent food-conditioned behavior.
On Tuesday, June 7, the same bear was involved in an incident at Fish Creek Campground in which the bear grabbed food out of an open vehicle trunk at an occupied campsite while campers were eating at a picnic table a few feet away. The bear consumed the food and left the area. Park rangers set a trap for the bear but the bear was not caught.
Earlier today, there were several sightings of the bear in Apgar Village and he did not seem bothered by human presence, according to witnesses. Rangers were called to the scene and the bear was determined to be a food-conditioned bear, and a threat to human safety.
The bear had an orange ear tag from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MFWP) identifying the bear as having been captured before. According to MFWP records the bear was captured at Stanton Lake Lodge on June 5, 2015 for getting into garbage. The bear was two and a half years old at the time and was relocated to Big Creek, 26 air miles away. There were no further incidents with this bear until this week’s incidents in Glacier National Park.
The bear was euthanized. This action is consistent with Glacier National Park’s Bear Management Plan. The bear weighed approximately 100 pounds.
Food-conditioned bears are those that have sought and obtained non-natural foods, destroyed property or displayed aggressive, non-defensive behavior towards humans and are removed from the wild. Food-conditioned bears are not relocated due to human safety concerns.
Black bears are not good candidates for animal capture facilities such as zoos and animal parks due to the plentiful nature of the species throughout the United States.