Park rangers kill food-conditioned bear

By | June 21, 2014

Glacier National Park Rangers euthanized a black bear from the Many Glacier area on Tuesday, June 17 after an incident in which the bear exhibited apparent food-conditioned behavior.

The black bear was captured on Sunday, June 15 after entering a park residence near the Many Glacier park entrance. The bear broke several windows, a screen door, and managed to enter the residence after breaking through the back door. According to park rangers, it appears the bear rummaged through garbage and recycling while inside the residence. No people were injured during the incident.

Park rangers also report witnessing several incidents in which the bear was found foraging for food near the Many Glacier Road, and physically contacting visitor vehicles. This bear was determined to be a food-conditioned bear and a potential threat to human safety.

After Glacier National Park personnel verified that the correct animal had been captured through distinct markings, the bear was euthanized. This action is consistent with Glacier National Park’s Bear Management Plan. The male bear was approximately five years old and weighed 160 pounds.

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.

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. Regulations require that all edibles, food containers, and cookware be stored in a hard-sided vehicle or food locker when not in use, day or night. Place all trash in bear-proof containers. Do not burn waste in fire rings or leave litter around your camp. Fire rings should be free of trash before vacating a campsite.

If you see a bear along the road, please do not stop. Stopping and watching roadside bears will likely start a “bear jam” as other motorists follow your lead. “Bear jams” are hazardous to both people and bears as visibility is reduced and bears may feel threatened by the congestion. Report all bear sightings to the nearest ranger.

Visitors to Glacier National Park are reminded that the park is home to black and grizzly bears. Hikers are highly encouraged to hike in groups, make noise when hiking, and have bear spray accessible and know how to use it. For more information about recreating in bear country, please visit


Please remember that a fed bear is a dead bear.  Keep all attractants put away.

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Patti Hart is the editor-in-chief and founder of the Patti lives on the North Fork during the summers and travels the world for the rest of the year, updating NFNews every day wherever there is an internet connection.