Sadly, Relocated Montana Grizzly Bears Not Relocated Far Enough
It has not been a good couple of weeks for black bears or grizzly bears in Montana.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks reports that four bears have been euthanized in the early days of summer, as their habitual eating habits brought them in too close of proximity to humans. And while never-ending arguments are made that we are invading too much of their space, and that careless unsecured food supplies are often to blame, unfortunately, the bears still aren't going to win.
A recent example occurred near Libby late last month. Montana FWP says that a female grizzly was captured after reports of her killing unsecured chickens. The bear was captured and relocated into the Cabinet-Yaak Ecosystem, over 10 miles away.
Just two days later, the bear was back in the area where the chickens were killed, this time to a different residence, where it was searching a porch. The residents used bear spray. And while that was enough of a deterrent to leave their porch, the grizzly went back to where it killed the chickens, which were by then in a secured coop.
Again trapped, the decision was made to euthanize the bear. And this is just one of four recent examples of a bear being euthanized in Montana in the past few weeks, all due to similar situations.
Montana FWP also captured and euthanized a male black bear near Swan Lake. After being captured a first time, it was moved to a more remote section of the woods, but resumed its same habits of trying to break into buildings in search of food. Being food-conditioned and habituated to people led to its demise.
Near Lake Blaine, a grizzly bear that had previously been captured near Vaughn and relocated to the Marias Pass area found its way across the Flathead Range and Hungry Horse Reservoir to access garbage and chicken coops. Food conditioned. Euthanized upon second capture.
Finally, FWP captured and euthanized an older female black bear that was frequenting garbage cans at homes around Blanchard Lake near Whitefish. In this case, the bear appeared to be in poor health, with some tumors in her mouth.
You hear these reports and wonder how far is far enough when it comes to trying to relocate these animals to safer natural habitats. Astonishing how their senses drive them.
Does anybody think these will be the last of these sad occurrences in the weeks to come? You can learn more about reporting bear conflicts here.