Glacier Makes it Easier to Remove Problem Bears

By Beacon Staff

WEST GLACIER – Glacier National Park announced new rules Monday that make it easier to haze or kill problem grizzly bears — a response to last year’s shooting of a bear that had become increasingly bold around humans.

Glacier wildlife biologist John Waller said the new rules allow the park to take action with bears that have run-ins with people before bigger problems can develop.

The rules lower the bar under which park administrators can list a bear as “conditioned.” That designation can trigger hazing or killing the animal to keep visitors safe.

Bears will now be considered conditioned if they closely approach people or repeatedly touch tents, backpacks or food containers. Previously the animals had to steal food, destroy property or display aggressive behavior toward people.

Last August, park rangers shot a female grizzly — and inadvertently killed one of her cubs — after she lost her fear of humans.

“Our goal is to be proactive in solving these problems to keep bears alive,” Waller said. “These are guidelines. They are meant to guide our thinking, not dictate a course of action under any circumstances.”