A black bear at Glacier National Park in Montana that developed a habit of searching out human food, in one case breaking into a house, has been put down by rangers.
The bear was put down Tuesday, a park release said Thursday.
The black bear was captured in the Many Glacier area on Sunday after entering a park residence near the Many Glacier park entrance. "The bear broke several windows, a screen door, and managed to enter the residence after breaking through the back door. According to park rangers, it appears the bear rummaged through garbage and recycling while inside the residence," a park release said.
There also were several witness reports of the bear foraging for food near the Many Glacier Road, and physically contacting visitor vehicles. "This bear was determined to be a food-conditioned bear and a potential threat to human safety," the park said.
"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 Glacier National Park’s Bear Management Plan. The male bear was approximately five years old and weighed 160 pounds," the release added.
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.
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.
Glacier officials are urging visitors to keep campgrounds and developed areas clean and free of food and trash. Park 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. All trash should also be placed in bear-proof containers. "Do not burn waste in fire rings or leave litter around your camp," the park said. "Fire rings should be free of trash before vacating a campsite."
Glacier visitors 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. For more information about recreating in bear country, please visit the park's bear page.