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Officials near Yellowstone National Park caught and euthanized a grizzly bear that is suspected of killing a hiker in Montana earlier this summer. On September 2, the bear and its cub broke into a house near West Yellowstone, a small town a mile from Yellowstone National Park.
According to a news release from the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, the bear and her cub came in through the kitchen window and swiped a container of dog food. The homeowner was present at the time of the break-in and called authorities, who arrived on the scene and trapped the bears. Local law enforcement shot and killed the bear “due to an immediate public safety threat from the bear’s food-conditioned behavior.”
Using genetic analysis and “other identifiable characteristics,” authorities determined that the 10-year-old female grizzly is the same bear that fatally mauled a hiker in Custer Gallatin National Forest on July 22.
“This bear was euthanized because it entered somebody’s home, which is very unsafe behavior, very unnatural behavior for bears,” Morgan Jacobsen, a spokesperson for Region 3 of Montana’s wildlife department, told news station KBZK. The cub, a 46-pound male, is being held at a wildlife rehabilitation center while arrangements are made to transfer the animal to a zoo.
Officials made multiple attempts to locate and trap the bear following the fatal attack in July. The victim, 48-year-old Amie Adamson, of Derby, Kansas, was found dead on a trail eight miles west of West Yellowstone. The incident happened near homes, campgrounds, and popular trails.
In 2020, the same bear injured a person near Henrys Lake State Park in Idaho.
The Yellowstone ecosystem’s grizzly bear population increased from 136 in 1975 to 1,063 in 2021, according to the National Park Service.
“Grizzly bear populations continue to become denser and more widespread in Montana, increasing the likelihood that residents and recreationists will encounter them in more places each year,” state wildlife officials said in the release.
To avoid conflicts with bears, the agency advises people to properly secure food and garbage, avoid animal carcasses, and stay at least 100 yards away from bears.