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Sub-adult grizzly bear dies from eating pesticide

A grizzly bear in north central Montana died Monday after getting into insecticide in an open garage.

The sub-adult female bear was about 11 miles northwest of Carter, which is between Fort Benton and Great Falls. The female had been seen in previous days traveling with a sibling bear. The sibling is still believed to be in the area.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks bear specialists are attempting to trap the second bear, which has been getting into pet food and grain spills south of the Teton River.

The bear that died was about 143 pounds and died within hours of ingesting several different kinds of insecticide. The carcass will be taken to FWP’s wildlife health lab in Bozeman to confirm the cause of death.

FWP has received several reports in recent weeks of grizzly bears out on the plains east of the Rocky Mountain Front. Bears in search of food can get into grain spills, garbage, pet food, bird seed and other attractants. FWP bear specialists recommend that people make sure any attractants are put away or cleaned up to prevent bears from being drawn to homes. FWP also recommends safely scaring away bears that come near homes. For example, using a vehicle and loud noises to scare away bears from homes are good techniques that can keep people safe. However, the bears must be uninjured in the process because they are still a federally protected species.

FWP is holding a community meeting in Fort Benton on June 13 to discuss general bear awareness and answer questions from the public. The meeting is at 7 p.m. at the elementary school, 1406 Franklin Street. The meeting is free and open to the public.