After several human encounters, Grand Teton Park officials ask public to be ‘bear aware’
The following is a news release from Grand Teton National Park.
MOOSE, Wyoming — Grand Teton National Park staff strongly reminds visitors and local residents that proper storage of food items and responsible picnicking are vitally important in bear country.
Picnickers should only have immediate use items out so that if a bear approaches, food items can be quickly gathered and the opportunity for the bear to receive a food reward is removed. Visitors should store food and scented items in bear-resistant food lockers that are located throughout the park or in a hard-sided vehicle.
A female sub-adult black bear was recently euthanized in Grand Teton for exhibiting food-conditioned behavior, and another female sub-adult black bear was relocated for habituated behavior. Both bears exhibited bold behaviors.
The decision to euthanize the bear was based on recent activities in which the bear exhibited no fear of humans and gained multiple, known food rewards. In mid-June, park staff responded to a report of a small black bear that made contact with a tent at Jenny Lake Campground. No property damage occurred.
Park staff began trapping operations with an intent to relocate the animal based on this habituated behavior. Efforts were unsuccessful.
In late June, several human-bear conflicts took place with this bear. On at least two occasions the bear approached or climbed on a picnic table and on four separate incidents the bear received a food reward, the last of which included taking over visitors’ picnic on the shore of Jenny Lake. Due to the bear exhibiting no fear of humans and receiving several food rewards, park managers made the decision to euthanize the bear.
In a separate incident, a sub-adult female black bear was recently relocated from the Moose-Wilson Corridor to another area of the park. The bear was observed approaching and putting its paws up on two vehicles in June. This bear may have exhibited similar behavior including receiving a food reward in 2017.
Once a bear acquires human food, it loses its fear of people and may become dangerous. Human carelessness doesn’t just endanger people; it can also result in a bear’s death. Please report any bear activity or human-bear interactions to a nearby park ranger or visitor center.
Park visitors are reminded to secure all bear attractants in campgrounds and other developed areas when not in immediate use. Do not burn waste in fire rings or leave litter in campsites.
Odors attract bears into campgrounds and picnic areas. Park visitors are reminded that regulations require that all food, garbage, pet food, coolers, and food containers (empty or full), and cookware (clean or dirty) be stored in a hard-sided vehicle with the windows rolled up or in a bear-resistant food locker when not in immediate use or attended to, day or night.
Secure your food, garbage, and other scented items immediately upon arriving at your campsite or picnic area.
Always keep your food within arm’s reach and don’t turn your back to your food. Picnickers should be prepared so if a bear is to approach, food items can be quickly gathered. Do not burn waste in fire rings or leave trash in campsites, and never intentionally feed bears or any other wildlife. For more information visit https://www.nps.gov/grte/planyourvisit/bearsafety.htm.