IDAHO FALLS — The Idaho Department of Fish and Game euthanized an adult male black bear June 23 after it had become food-conditioned and habituated to humans. Multiple sightings of the bear getting into garbage and poking around cabins in the Mack’s Inn area of Island Park occurred over the past several weeks.
“The bear had become accustomed to finding food rewards from humans and no longer showed fear of people,” says Bear Biologist Jeremy Nicholson with F&G. “It started peeking in peoples windows during the daylight hours and made no efforts to avoid humans.”
With thousands of campers, anglers, and hikers venturing outdoors, the potential for human interactions with bears is on the rise. Fish and Game encourages people to be mindful of their food and garbage and make sure it is inaccessible to bears. The same cautions apply to homeowners in bear country.
“Human safety is always our number one priority,” says Nicholson. “Unfortunately if a bear gains access to human food sources and becomes habituated to humans as this one did, relocation is not an option and the only way to ensure human safety is by removal of the bear.”
Bears can travel great distances while switching from spring to summer foods when berries and other natural foods become scarce. During their travels, improperly stored attractants such as food and garbage may become appealing.
Campers can help avoid most conflicts with bears by practicing the following:
Homeowners can avoid most conflicts with bears by practicing the following:
Fish and Game deals with most nuisance bear complaints from July through September when bears are traveling in search of food. Bears will eat almost anything, including human food, garbage, birdseed, and pet and livestock food. Bears that become conditioned to raiding these food sources can lose their natural fear of people and can become nuisances or even threats. Live trapping and moving a bear does not always solve the problem, and bears often will need to be euthanized. That is why biologists often say a fed bear is a dead bear.
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