(Moose, WY) — Grand Teton National Park staff recently relocated a subadult grizzly bear within the park after the bear received a food reward in two incidents due to irresponsible human actions. A food storage violation citation with a mandatory court appearance was issued to one individual and both incidents are under investigation.
Grand Teton National Park Superintendent Chip Jenkins said, “Feeding wildlife is illegal and dangerous, and we take these incidents very seriously. The impacts of irresponsible behavior can have very negative effects for humans and wildlife.”
On June 11th, a visitor reported that a grizzly bear walked through a Grassy Lake Road campsite, sniffed a picnic table and unoccupied tent, and put its paws on the tent. No damage was done to the tent. Visitors yelled at the bear and the bear ran away.
On June 12th, Teton Interagency Dispatch Center received a report of visitors feeding a grizzly bear from a vehicle south of Lizard Creek Campground.
On June 13th, Teton Interagency Dispatch Center received a report of a grizzly bear gaining access to unattended trash and a drink at a campsite located on the outer loop of the Headwaters Campground.
All reports and evidence indicated that the same grizzly bear was involved with each incident. Late on June 13th park staff captured the grizzly bear along the Grassy Lake Road. On June 14th, the bear was collared and biological samples were collected. The bear is a young male that is approximately 2.5 years old.
The bear was relocated early Tuesday morning, June 15th, via boat to the west side of Jackson Lake.
A food storage violation citation with a mandatory court appearance was issued to the individual that had the unattended trash and drink. The reported feeding of the bear from a vehicle is under investigation.
Every visitor who comes to Grand Teton has the unique opportunity to view bears in their natural habitat. With that opportunity comes the responsibility to protect themselves and the bears. It is up to everyone to keep bears wild.
Bears that obtain human food may lose their natural fear of humans and may seek out humans and human developed areas as an easy source of food. As a result, bear may become aggressive towards people and have to be killed.
The proper storage of food items and responsible picnicking are vitally important in bear country. Picnickers should only have immediate use items out so that if a bear approaches, food items can be quickly gathered and the opportunity for the bear to receive a food reward is removed. Visitors should store food and scented items in bear-resistant food lockers that are located throughout the park or in a hard-sided vehicle. Deposit trash in bar-resistant receptacles and do not burn waste in fire rings or leave litter in campsites.
Please report bear activity along roadways and in developed areas and human-bear interactions to a nearby park ranger or visitor center. Park visitors should follow regulations related to human and wildlife safety. For more information, visit Safety in Bear Country – Grand Teton National Park (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov).