Orphaned grizzlies sent to Pennsylvania Wildlife Sanctuary

Following the euthanasia of an adult female grizzly bear in northwest Montana, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) is sending a pair of grizzly bears to a wildlife preserve in Pennsylvania.

The three bears were captured near Lupfer Meadows north of Whitefish on July 10. The adult bear was previously captured in 2020 and transferred to Glacier National Park after breaking into unsecured garbage and chicken coops near Columbia Falls. FWP has received continuous reports of the adult female foraging for unnatural food sources – domestic rabbits, garbage and livestock feed – near Olney for the past two years, but bear specialists have not was able to capture the grizzly.

This spring, the grizzly reportedly partially opened a residential garage door in search of food, leading the FWP in consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to determine it was necessary to euthanize the bear. conditioned.

The two cubs were taken to the FWP Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Helena for temporary placement, but will soon be moved to Rivendale Wildlife Sanctuary in Bulgar, Pennsylvania. The sanctuary recently built a bear enclosure that will house the cubs and is accredited by the Zoological Association of America.

“While we are grateful that Rivendale Wildlife Sanctuary had the appropriate space and accepted these two cubs for permanent placement, we would much prefer to see them in the wild avoiding conflict with humans,” said Lee Anderson. , supervisor of region 1 of the FWP. “I cannot stress enough the importance of safe food attractants in bear country. This will keep people safe and bears wild.

Also in July, FWP officials captured a pair of male grizzly bears north of Columbia Falls in the Blankenship area following reports of animals entering garbage, outdoor freezers and chicken coops. Determining that the bears packaged for food posed a risk to public safety, FWS and FWP decided to euthanize the two animals on July 11.

A total of seven bears have been killed by management this year in FWP Region 1. In June, FWP officials captured and euthanized four bears — two black bears and two grizzly bears — that had become conditioned for food.

“We appreciate residents reporting these conflicts to FWP bear managers because we need to hear about these conflicts as soon as they arise to try to resolve the situation before it escalates,” Anderson said.

Authorities are urging residents to remove or secure food attractants such as garbage, bird feeders and birdseed. Chicken and livestock should be properly secured with an electric fence or inside a closed shed with a gate.

Anyone recreating in bear country should be aware of their presence and follow precautionary measures and advice to prevent conflict, such as wearing bear spray and knowing how to use it effectively.

To report grizzly bear activity in the Great Flathead Valley, call FWP Wildlife Management Specialists at (406) 250-1265. To report black bear and mountain lion activity in the Great Flathead Valley, call (406) 250-0062. To report bear activity in the Cabinet-Yaak area, call (406) 291-1320.

For more information on security, visit fwp.mt.gov/conservation/wildlife.

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