Yellowstone National Park rangers on Wednesday put down a female black bear that had come to rely on humans for food.
The 100-pound bear, estimated to be four or five years old, was the fourth bear to die in the park in June. Previously, a year-old grizzly was a hit-and-run victim on U.S. 191 on the western edge of Yellowstone, a yearling grizzly was accidentally killed in a trapping incident, and a female black bear was killed in yet another hit-and-run accident.
In the latest incident, park officials said the black bear had been frequenting Bridge Bay Campground, the Gull Point Picnic Area, and Lake Village. She had gotten into human food, "and on one occasion ripped open an occupied tent in the campground," they said. "She had also been following and approaching hikers on the nearby Elephant Back Trail."
While attempts were made to convince the bear humans should not be associated with food -- shooting the bear with bean bags and firing cracker shells -- those efforts were unsuccessful and the decision was made to put the bear down, park officials said. Wednesday morning the bear was trapped and then euthanized, they said.
Yellowstone officials stressed that visitors need to keep food, garbage, barbecue grills and other attractants stored in hard-sided vehicles or bear-proof food storage boxes when not in use. This helps keep bears from becoming conditioned to human foods, and helps keep park visitors and their property safe, they said.