Persistent grizzly and her cub euthanized after break-ins, Montana officials say

A grizzly bear and cub were euthanized after months of break-ins to garages and cabins in search of food, Montana wildlife officials reported.

In early August, officials relocated the 6-year-old grizzly and her male cub from Lincoln County to a forest near Frozen Lake, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks said in a news release.

The bears were trapped and moved following complaints from residents about bears breaking into unsecured garages to look for food, the agency said.

After being relocated, the bears traveled to the North Fork of the Flathead River and broke into garages, cabins, outdoor freezers and a trailer, officials said.

The agency again trapped the mama grizzly and cub.

“Based on reports and video footage, the bears were severely food conditioned and habituated to people,” the release said.

After consulting with federal wildlife officials, the agency decided to euthanize the two bears Wednesday, Sept. 20, officials said.

“Once a bear has become food-conditioned, hazing and aversive conditioning are unlikely to be successful in reversing this type of behavior,” officials said in the release. “Food-conditioned and habituated bears are not relocated due to human safety concerns.”

What to do if you see a bear

Bear attacks in the U.S. are rare, according to the National Park Service. In most attacks, bears are trying to defend their food, cubs or space.

There are steps people can take to help prevent a bear encounter from becoming a bear attack.

  • Identify yourself: Talk calmly and slowly wave your arms. This can help the bear realize you’re a human and nonthreatening.

  • Stay calm: Bears usually don’t want to attack; they want to be left alone. Talk slowly and with a low voice to the bear.

  • Don’t scream: Screaming could trigger an attack.

  • Pick up small children: Don’t let kids run away from the bear. It could think they’re small prey.

  • Hike in groups: A group is noisier and smellier, the National Park Service said. Bears like to keep their distance from groups of people.

  • Make yourself look big: Move to higher ground and stand tall. Don’t make any sudden movements.

  • Don’t drop your bag: A bag on your back can keep a bear from accessing food, and it can provide protection.

  • Walk away slowly: Move sideways so you appear less threatening to the bear. This also lets you keep an eye out.

  • Again, don’t run: Bears will chase you, just like a dog would.

  • Don’t climb trees: Grizzlies and black bears can also climb.

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