WEST GLACIER – A black bear was euthanized Monday near Lake McDonald Lodge in Glacier National Park.
Park spokeswoman Lauren Alley said rangers euthanized the animal after finding it had broken into a concession employee housing cabin. Nobody was present in the cabin at the time.
The bear matched the description and photos of a bear that had been reported multiple times in the area since Memorial Day weekend, according to a news release.
Alley said that on Friday, May 24, a black bear was reported in the Lake McDonald Lodge horse corral eating unsecured horse feed. That same night and the following morning the bear returned, exhibiting little fear of humans or horses.
A private landowner in the same area reported on Saturday that a bear had pushed in porch screens and caused other property damage at a residence. Another nearby resident reported a black bear looking into their cabin windows.
Alley said rangers spent over a week in the Lake McDonald Lodge area finding the bear and using “extensive aversive conditioning techniques to encourage the bear to seek out wild areas and natural food sources again.”
The male bear was euthanized consistent with Glacier National Park’s Bear Management Plan in consultation with park wildlife biologists.
The bear was estimated to be about 9 years old and approximately 150 pounds. A field necropsy revealed it to be in otherwise healthy condition.
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.
Park officials said 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.
Visitors are reminded to keep campgrounds and developed areas clean and free of food and trash.
Residents and businesses located in and around the park are also being reminded to secure all types of non-natural food sources including garbage, livestock, feed, pet food, bird seed, and hummingbird feeders.