Two grizzly bear cubs were released near Yellowstone National Park over the weekend.
Friday, October 9, the pair of male yearlings were taken away from Chester, Idaho, after their mother was euthanized. The 13-year-old sow had been raiding apple trees in the area. Reportedly, the cubs were accompanying their mother into the orchards.
Steve Schmidt, regional supervisor for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, said the agency contacted zoos, hoping one would taken in the grizzly bear cubs. When no zoo came forward, state officials decided to try relocation rather than put down the cubs alongside their mother. Some officials are expressing concern about this pair of yearlings, however. From the Idaho Statesman:
“Generally once a bear learns a behavior, it sticks with it,” said Gregg Losinski, spokesman for Fish and Game. “The potential for running into a similar problem is always there.”
The bears had been previously captured near Cody, Wyoming, and released in the Jedidiah Smith Wilderness in that state on Sept. 21.
But officials say the bears immediately moved to lower elevations outside Ashton and Chester in Idaho where they repeatedly sought out apple trees in rural areas.
“The decision to euthanize the sow was not made lightly but underlies the ongoing challenge of managing a population that has exceeded all recovery goals set under the Endangered Species Act,” Idaho Fish and Game officials said in a statement.
The bears were released west of Yellowstone, with the hopes that they would find their way into the Park and integrate themselves into the grizzly bear population.
Schmidt added in the Statesman: “Our decision is to give them a shot … If they get into trouble in the future, we will deal with it then.”
The relocation of this pair of grizzly bear cubs parallels this summer’s big grizzly event in Yellowstone National Park: the relocation of a pair of female grizzly cubs to the Toledo Zoo, after their mother was put down after she killed a hiker in August. The decision caused controversy as the sow in question was reportedly a popular roadside bear named Blaze.