Park officials announced today that a troublesome adult female black bear had been seen frequenting the Slough Creek area in the north central portion of the park. The bear was 4-5 years old, and weighed between 100 and 125 pounds. Some observers had mistaken the bear for a grizzly since it was brown in color.
In mid-July, the bear entered an occupied backcountry campsite in the Slough Creek drainage. Attempts to chase the bear away failed, and the bear ate the dinner the camper had prepared for himself.
Last Sunday a group of five people set up camp at the site, only the second set of campers to do so after a two-week closure. The bear returned to the occupied site. The campers left all their gear and food and hiked to the trailhead, reporting the incident to park staff.
Members of the park’s Bear Management staff hiked into the area the next day. The bear again returned to the backcountry campsite and would not leave. The animal had damaged the tent and eaten most of the food that had been left behind the day before.
No attempt was made to relocate the bear because, in the words of a NPS press release, “elocation of habituated, food-conditioned bears has generally proven unsuccessful.” Because of the high number of people in the area, the decision was made not to attempt a live capture; lethal removal was considered the safest method. Park staff members traveled by horseback into the area Tuesday, and put down the bear.
Image courtesy of the National Park Service. No, it’s not the bear that was put down.