Missoula – Wildlife officials captured and relocated a male grizzly bear in Seeley Lake late last week after repeated incidents of pursuing garbage and other attractants at campgrounds and home sites in the area.
The bear did not have a prior history of conflicts and was collared and relocated to a remote area in the Whitefish Mountain Range in northwest Montana.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks confirms there are still other bears in the Seeley Lake area, currently seeking out garbage and other food sources around homes and recreation areas. The area has a history of regular bear activity that has picked up in recent years. FWP bear specialist Jamie Jonkel, emphasized that securing attractants—such as garbage– has become increasingly important for people and bears.
“The community of Seeley Lake is starting to come together to make sure bear attractants are cleaned up or out of reach, and doing so is important for everyone, including bears,” Jonkel said. “Bears that have easy access to things like garbage, fruit trees, bird seed and backyard chicken coops tend to stay around, which leads to safety concerns for people and the potential for offending bears to be lethally removed.”
Once bears are exposed to these attractants, it is hard to break the pattern and they must be relocated or sometimes euthanized. “We want to work with the community to do all we can to prevent that outcome,” Jonkel said.
Keeping attractants out of a bear’s reach in our neighborhoods and recreation areas is the best way to prevent conflicts. Store garbage indoors or inside a bear resistant container; pick fruit as soon as it is ripe; consider using electric fencing around chickens, garden areas and compost piles; and move other attractants such as pet food and barbecue grills into a secure building when not in use.