KETCHUM, Idaho — Idaho Fish and Game (IDFG) euthanized a black bear found going through trash in a residential area in Ketchum on July 18.
The bear was found with two cubs going through neighborhood trash when it was scared up a tree by local law enforcement. The bear was then darted and euthanized because it had become food conditioned.
This incident took place a quarter mile away from where a black bear had charged after a woman.
The cubs are being moved to the Snowdon Wildlife Sanctuary in McCall to be rehabilitated and returned to the wild.
It is not certain if the cubs will break this food conditioned behavior.
“This is certainly not a decision we take lightly and certainly not a decision we like to make,” said Mike McDonald, regional wildlife manager with IDFG.
When animals become food conditioned, it is IDFG policy to euthanize the animal as it has become a public safety issue. Many people question the decision to euthanize instead of relocate or try another avenue, but IDFG has tried other tactics and exhausted all of its avenues before it makes the choice to euthanize any animal.
“Until we can get to the point where we can manage some of these opportunities for these bears to potentially get in trouble, Ya know we are going to continue to have issues like this,” said McDonald.
Bears spend most of their time finding calories to consume and prepare for hibernation in the winter. Once a bear has found a food source it can become attached and aggressive towards anyone or anything in its way of getting calorie intake.
This is why IDFG stresses the importance of locking up trash, taking down bird feeders in the summer and making sure no food is left out. The cubs will now begin the process of rehabilitation in hopes of returning to a normal wildlife lifestyle of hunting and scavenging for food.
“They’re going to the right place. They’re going to folks that kind of have a proven track record of dealing with this like this. They isolate them from humans, they change their diet and then if the cub is young enough, the hope is they can unlearn those behaviors,” said McDonald.
For more information on the Euthanization of this black bear, click here.
For more information on the Snowdon Wildlife Sanctuary, click here.