Grizzly Cub Transferred from Glacier Park

By Beacon Staff

WEST GLACIER – The yearling cub of a 17-year-old female grizzly that was recently killed by Glacier National Park rangers was transferred out of the park Tuesday on its way to the Bronx Zoo in New York.

The female cub, which rangers estimated weighed 80 to 100 pounds, wriggled and fought against her confines at the Glacier Park Headquarters as she was prepped to make the trip. She growled, bawled for her mother and huffed as rangers waited for a bigger bear trap to arrive.

“She’s a bit agitated as you could expect,” said Park Ranger Gary Moses.

The yearling is the only surviving member of the three-bear family group that officials had flagged as too dangerous to live in the park. Park rangers shot and killed the mother 300 yards from the Oldman Lake Campground on the evening of Aug. 17. The second yearling died after rangers darted it with tranquilizer, despite ranger efforts with mouth-to-nose CPR. The reason for the death is still unknown and an animal autopsy in Bozeman is pending.

Park spokesman Amy Vanderbilt said it was a “gut-wrenching” decision to kill the sow grizzly and it was very unfortunate the yearling died before it could be captured.

“This is the first time grizzly bears have been removed from the park in 11 or 12 years,” Vanderbilt said.

The park tried to relocate the family group, said Park Ranger Jack Potter, but other federal agencies declined to take the bears. Potter said the mother bear posed a threat to people in the park because she was approaching humans without fear, a trait rangers worried she may have passed on to her offspring.

In a press release, Park Superintendent Chas Cartwright said the bears had displayed “overt conditioned behavior” toward humans in recent years.

“Park resource personnel worked to keep this bear and her offspring in the wild for five years, but given her most recent display of over-familiarity in combination with her history of habituation, we determined that the three grizzlies posed an unacceptable threat to human health and safety,” Cartwright said.

According to park officials, the bears had been observed approaching occupied campgrounds, forcing hikers off trails and sniffing at tents during the night. Aversion treatments, such as noise and bear dogs, were not effective, park officials said.

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