A black bear at Glacier National Park that turned too often to campgrounds for meals was put down by park rangers "after numerous incidents in which the bear exhibited aggressive and food-conditioned behavior towards park visitors," park officials said Tuesday.
The bear was frequenting the Fish Creek Campground area on the north shore of Lake McDonald and displaying aggressive behavior almost daily for the past two weeks, a park release noted.
"The bear was entering campsites, foraging, and charging visitors. This behavior is consistent with behavior displayed by habituated and food-conditioned wildlife," the release added. "Attempts to haze were unsuccessful in deterring the bear from frequenting the campground. The female bear was approximately three years old and weighed 100 pounds."
After the recent incidents in the Fish Creek Campground area, park rangers set traps and captured the suspect animal at approximately 7:30 p.m. on Sunday. After Glacier National Park personnel verified that the correct animal had been captured through distinct markings, the bear was euthanized. This action is consistent with the park’s Bear Management Plan, the release said.
"Food-conditioned bears are those that have sought and obtained non-natural foods, destroyed property or displayed aggressive non-defensive behavior towards humans, and are removed from the wild. Food-conditioned bears are not relocated due to human safety concerns," added the release.
Black bears are not good candidates for animal capture facilities such as zoos and animal parks due to the plentiful nature of the species throughout the United States, said park officials.
Visitors are reminded to keep campgrounds and developed areas clean and free of food and trash. Regulations require that all edibles, food containers, and cookware be stored in a hard-sided vehicle or food locker when not in use, day or night. Place all trash in bear-proof containers. Do not burn waste in fire rings or leave litter around your camp. Fire rings should be free of trash before vacating a campsite. Report all bear sightings to the nearest ranger.
Visitors to Glacier National Park are reminded that the park is home to black and grizzly bears. Hikers are highly encouraged to hike in groups, make noise when hiking, and have bear spray accessible and know how to use it.