Black Bear Euthanized by Wyoming Wildlife Managers
Wyoming wildlife managers had to euthanize a black bear Sunday morning after campers repeatedly gave the bear food rewards.
The four- to five-year-old male bear visited the Sibley Lake Campground in the Bighorn National Forest on Friday and accessed food left out by campers at two different campsites.
A trap was set out for the bear on Saturday, and the bear entered the trap after returning to the campground that night, according to a statement from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
Dayton District Game Warden Dustin Shorma said in the statement that the campground was completely full on Saturday.
"Bears usually would avoid an area like that with lots of human commotion. However, when it came through Friday night, it was able to get food left out by campers, which encouraged it to return again Saturday night."
Shorma spoke with several campers about putting their food and cooking items away, but he noticed that more than one campsite had food and coolers left outside, with no one in the vicinity. Shorma said the campground host also visited with campers about properly storing food.
Officials say the same bear probably visited the campground during the weekend of July 28-29 and tried to get into trash bins and coolers. The same bear also likely got into food left out by campers in the Prune Creek campground on the nights of Aug. 1 and 2.
"Euthanizing a bear is a last resort and no one likes to do it," Shorma said. "It is always unpleasant to kill a healthy animal. But after a bear has repeatedly received food made available by humans, that bear's behavior changes. It will continue to seek out areas with humans, knowing that food can be found there. This is obviously a dangerous situation. Once that happens, our options for managing that bear are few."
All food, food items, preparation equipment, pet food, flavored beverages and other attractants should be secured in a vehicle or hard-sided camper before campers go to sleep at night, or any time campers leave their campsite.