ISLAND PARK, Idaho (KIFI) – Fish and Game in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service euthanized a sow grizzly and two yearlings in Island Park on Wednesday after the bears exhibited aggressive behavior and showed no fear towards humans after becoming food-conditioned and habituated to human food sources from residential areas.
Since April, the trio of bears began persistently seeking out and successfully obtaining food rewards from unsecured residential garbage and dumpsters. Due to their aggressive behavior, dependence on human food, and habituation to residential areas, officials say the bears were captured and euthanized in the interest of human safety on May 25.
This is the second incident in less than a week where grizzly bears had to be euthanized after gaining access to unsecured garbage and other attractants. Residents and visitors in bear country are strongly encouraged to store all residential garbage containers inside a garage or locked shed. Garbage containers should only be put out the morning of pick-up, not the night before.
Bears are extremely adaptable and can learn very quickly to associate people with food. The presence of unsecured food sources of human origin such as residential garbage, bird seed, dog food, beehives, domestic poultry, or fruit trees have long been documented as sources of human-bear conflicts. Food-conditioned bears can rapidly lose their fear of humans, resulting in bears approaching people and ultimately putting the lives of both humans and bears at risk.
Grizzly bears in Idaho are federally protected under the Endangered Species Act and management actions are therefore done in consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.