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Rangers in Glacier National Park killed a 17-year-old mother grizzly bear with two yearling cubs after she got too friendly with humans. They attempted to tranquilize her cubs for removal, but one died as a result. The other will move permanently to the Bronx Zoo.
The mother bear had a history of shadowing hikers and visiting campsites, and while she never seemed threatening, defensively, or aggressive, park officials worried that her attraction to humans would eventually lead to trouble. The female bear regularly tramped through campsites and sniffed food at the edges of tents. Attempts to haze her with rubber bullets, dogs, and pepper spray mostly didn’t work.
“Instead of avoiding people, it’s almost like she’s attracted to them,” said Jack Potter, Glacier’s chief of science and natural resources told the Missoulian. “Some people seem to want us to wait until there’s a body before we act. Well, we don’t work that way.”
The bear was shot and killed while approaching the park’s Old Man Lake campground, which was full of hikers at the time. Park officials warned that the cubs had likely learned to associate with humans form their mother, and their chances of survival in the wild were unlikely.