Yellowstone wildlife officials kill black bear habituated to campground

A black bear eats food taken from campers in Yellowstone National Park on June 22. The bear was killed out of concern for visitor safety. (NPS photo) A black bear eats food taken from campers in Yellowstone National Park on June 22. The bear was killed out of concern for visitor safety. (NPS photo)

From Staff Reports

Wildlife managers in Yellowstone National Park killed a black bear Saturday after it was seen foraging for human food and returning to a campground after being chased out.

An adult male black bear weighing 142 pounds entered the Canyon Campground on Saturday afternoon and approached within six feet of a man and woman who were eating, according to a statement released by the park’s public affairs office.

The campers moved away and the bear ate some of their  food. The bear also went through the campers’ garbage and sniffed and pawed at their tent. The bear then left the site and sniffed and pawed at other tents, bear-proof dumpsters and bear-proof food storage boxes and dug through fire pits in other campsites in the campground.

Rangers responded and hazed the bear out of the campground, but the bear returned again to the campground. Due to safety concerns for park visitors, park workers shot and killed the bear at approximately 9:00 p.m.

Park officials advise that visitors must keep food, garbage, coolers and other attractants stored in hard-sided vehicles or bear-proof food storage boxes.  This helps keep bears from becoming conditioned to human foods, and helps keep park visitors and their property safe.

Hikers in bear country are encouraged to travel in groups of three or more, carry bear deterrent spray, make plenty of noise on the trail, and to be alert for the presence of bears.  If a bear charges during a surprise encounter, stand your ground, do not run, and use bear pepper spray.

Park regulations require that you to stay at least 100 yards away from black and grizzly bears at all times.  The best defense against bear attacks is to stay a safe distance from bears and use your binoculars, spotting scope, or telephoto lens to get a closer look.

Bear sightings should be reported to the nearest visitor center or ranger station as soon as possible.

Contact Yellowstone Gate at 307-213-9818 or [email protected]

5 thoughts on “Yellowstone wildlife officials kill black bear habituated to campground

  1. sounds like there was zero effort to capture and relocate this bear. 142 pounds is pretty small, and suggests that this was likely only a 2 year old bear which was recently separated from its mother.

    though i do understand protecting campers and other tourists, it sounds as if there was no consideration at all to capturing the bear and moving it elsewhere. heck, couple of rangers could have just tossed it into the back of a pickup and moved it into the back country.

    the yellowstone officials have just gone super proactive in killing bears since the two fatalaties in the park a couple years ago. those fatalaties did occur in the canyon area, but involved grizzly bears. in both instances, as i remember, it was human behavior that caused the attacks.

    • I agree….sooner than later there will be no wildlife and the parks will be filled with tourists, who obviously don’t follow rules or care about the creatures of the forests and mountains. With a little effort at least this bear could have been relocated to a wildlife sanctuary (Earthfire Institute in Driggs for example. Another sad story…..

  2. Another wildlife “death by tourist.”

    Once the animal is habituated by humans it will not return to being “wild.”

    The Park disService ended this black bear’s life, but the tourists are the ones that killed the black bear.

    Sometimes, no, often, tourist dollars are not worth having tourists pass through our region. Oh well …

  3. If people would not be such pigs and leave food lying around the Bear would have not come back to the campground.

    Why punish the bear. Punish the campers CLOSE the campground!!!

  4. This is very sad. I agree, there appears to have been no effort to relocate the bear, more than likely due to lack of park funds. I disagree with the comment that “…habituated by humans it will not return to being wild”. Not the case…if they are relocated into a remote area, far away from campgrounds they will once again forage for food. Better yet, why not relocate the campers who don’t follow the rules!