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Wyoming grizzly bear relocated to area near Yellowstone

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Grizzly bear

Grizzly bears trapped, euthanized or released in Wyoming are recorded in an annual Game and Fish Department report, along with a few details about some unusual incidents. This bear was photographed in 2014 in Yellowstone National Park.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department captured and relocated a male grizzly bear to the greater Yellowstone area Wednesday after the bear killed cattle on an undisclosed ranch in Wyoming.

“After consultation with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department captured and relocated an adult male grizzly bear on May 4,” the department said in a press release Friday.

The bear was captured for “cattle depredation on private land” and relocated in the Sunlight creek drainage approximately 30 miles from the northeast entrance of Yellowstone National Park.

State and federal law governs the capture and relocation of grizzly bears and the agencies involved are required to notify the public when such encounters occur. According to Wyoming Game and Fish the use of relocations is a management tool for large carnivore conservation efforts that seek to minimize conflicts between bears and humans.

Grizzlies are only relocated into areas already populated by the species, the press release said, and bears that threaten human life or are considered a hazard to people are never relocated under the program, the agency said.

Grizzly bear relocation is a management tool large carnivore biologists use to minimize conflicts between humans and grizzly bears. It is critical to managing the expanding population of grizzly bears in Wyoming.

“Capture is necessary when other deterrent or preventative options are exhausted or unattainable,” the department’s release read. “Once the animal is captured, all circumstances are taken into account when determining if the individual should be relocated. If relocation is warranted, a site is determined by considering the age, sex, and type of conflict the bear was involved in as well as potential human activity nearby.”

If a bear is not eligible for relocation, the animal is euthanized.

“In some cases, a bear may be removed from the population if it cannot be relocated successfully,” the department said.

The public has a responsibility in bear management, according to Fish and Game, by realizing the “importance of keeping all attractants such as food, garbage, horse feed, bird seed unavailable to bears.”

The practice is essential to limiting bear-human conflicts. In 2021, Wyoming Game and Fish trapped 45 bears, euthanized 30 and relocated 19, according to the department’s annual report. In 2020, the agency captured a much lower 26 bears and 18 were euthanized.

The report also included interesting details into the lives of bears requiring relocation. In one instance a subadult male captured in Park County exhibited “bold behavior around guest lodges and trailheads, including following horseback riders on several occasions.”

The bear was euthanized.

In the fall, a bear was captured after feeding in a pumpkin patch and corn maze while another was trapped and euthanized after hanging out about two miles downstream from Cody and exhibiting “aggressive behavior towards people rafting the [Shoshone] river.”

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