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Grizzly bear mother and cub relocated after snacking on trash

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game says it was important to move the bears before they became too accustomed to people and human food sources.
Credit: Idaho Department of Fish and Game
A grizzly bear sow and her cub were relocated after getting into garbage in Island Park.

ISLAND PARK, Idaho — The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has relocated a mother grizzly bear and her cub after the pair got into garbage in Island Park.

The sow and yearling cub were safely captured Sunday in the Yale Creek area. The grizzlies had been seen in that area multiple times, prompting Fish and Game officers to set up a trap for them before they became too acclimated to human food sources.

"These two bears were primarily seen at night and were in the early stages of becoming habituated to humans," says Bear Biologist Jeremy Nicholson. "We think we have captured them soon enough to have prevented them from becoming food-conditioned or accustomed to human food sources, making it possible for them to be relocated." 

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The bears were sedated and tagged after their capture, and the mother was fitted with a GPS collar to allow officers to monitor her location in the future. The grizzlies were then taken to the Horseshoe Lake area of the Caribou-Targhee National Forest and released.

Keeping trash and food secured and put away from bears is the best way to protect the animals and humans alike, according to Fish and Game. 

"Securing garbage and other bear attractants properly is important to prevent situations like this one from occurring," explains Nicholson. "Leaving your garbage out where bears can get into it puts humans at risk and often results in the death of the bear."

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The department released the following tips for everyone who lives in bear country. 

  • Keep garbage in bear-resistant containers or in a secured building.
  • Empty and remove bird feeders during the summer months when songbirds are able to forage on food provided by nature.
  • Clean up fruit that has fallen in your yard. Rotting fruit will attract bears as well as raccoons and skunks.
  • Feed pets inside or during daylight hours; don't leave pet food or food scraps outside of your home or camp, as it can attract bears and other animals.
  • Store horse and livestock grains inside closed barns.
  • Keep BBQ grills stored in secured buildings.