Grizzly

A grizzly bear walks along the Swan Lake Flats in this 2005 file photo.

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Two grizzly bears that entered an occupied tent and an RV storage compartment near West Yellowstone were killed this week, Montana officials said Friday.

The two bears, one male and one female, were killed after Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks responded to 15 reports of two bears getting into garbage and dog food, approaching houses and entering campgrounds at night.

“When garbage and other attractants are left unsecured and available to bears, human safety becomes a huge concern, and bear mortalities are the unfortunate result,” said Mark Deleray, FWP’s regional supervisor for southwest Montana.

FWP worked to haze the bears in 2019, when conflicts with the two bears emerged. Officials removed them from residential areas, FWP wrote.

Problems with the bears resurfaced this August, when people reported there were two bears entering campgrounds at night and going inside porches and on steps. The bears were able to access garbage and dog food, according to FWP.

When efforts to chase the bears from the aforementioned sites using cameras and noise alarms failed, bear specialists captured them Aug. 16.

Because of the bears’ young age, FWP, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service decided to relocate the bears, fitting them with ear tags and satellite collars.

The bears returned to the area on Aug. 25, according to FWP, entering an occupied tent and a storage compartment on an RV.

The bears were euthanized over concerns for human safety this week, a decision made by FWP with consultation from USFWS.

The Forest Service requires that all unattended food, garbage and bear attractants be stored in vehicles, in locked bear resistant products or hung at least 10 feet above the ground and four feet away from a tree or pole.

In Montana, grizzly bear populations are rising and their territory is expanding, increasing the chances of encounters with humans, FWP wrote.

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Helena Dore can be reached at hdore@dailychronicle.com or at 582-2628.

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