FWP Euthanizes Adult Grizzly Bear Due to Food Conditioning

Wildlife officials urge residents to secure attractants, protect livestock with electric fencing

By Beacon Staff

Wildlife officials euthanized an adult female grizzly bear Oct. 25 in Ferndale after the bear became food conditioned near residences, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP).

FWP wildlife managers captured the adult female for a second time after it returned to the Ferndale area and approached residences. It had been previously captured in early October after breaking into chicken coops and killing chickens on residential property. The bear was moved to a remote area near the Spotted Bear River.

In accordance with Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee guidelines and in consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, FWP euthanized the 350-pound adult female due to food conditioning, which occurs when wildlife lose natural foraging habits.

A female cub was accompanying the adult female, and FWP captured the cub on Oct. 26. FWP moved the 103-pound cub to the Deep Creek area on the east side of Hungry Horse Reservoir. The bear was fitted with a GPS radio collar.

Separately, on Oct. 22, FWP captured a 4-year-old male grizzly bear up Roads Draw west of Kalispell after the animal broke into residential chicken coops. FWP moved the 298-pound grizzly bear to the Packers Roost area in Glacier National Park after consulting with the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The bear did not have any prior conflict history and was fitted with a radio collar.

FWP reminds homeowners to keep attractants secured. Attractants include garbage, pet and livestock food, birdfeeders, and fruit trees, but also include livestock, compost, gardens, outdoor food cookers, and beehives. The best way to secure an attractant is to make it inaccessible to the animal by containing it within a secure hard-sided building (a structure with four-sided walls, roof and door). Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) certified bear-resistant containers are useful in preventing the bear from learning that garbage could become a food source.

Bears are increasingly seeking food sources in preparation for winter denning. Residents are encouraged to report bear activity as soon as possible. To report grizzly bear activity in the greater Flathead Valley, call FWP bear management specialists at (406) 250-1265.

Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.