Jackson – Each year, large carnivore biologists with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department capture and relocate bears that have become involved in human-related conflicts. On September 22, 2020, at the direction of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Game and Fish biologists captured and relocated a sub-adult female grizzly bear. The bear was captured for habituated behavior on private lands west of Cody, WY. In cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, the bear was relocated to Squirrel Meadows approximately 27 miles northwest of Moran, WY.
Grizzly bear relocation is a management tool afforded to large carnivore biologists to minimize conflicts between humans and grizzly bears and is critical to the management of the population. When other options are exhausted or unattainable, Game and Fish will attempt to capture the bear. Once the animal is captured, all circumstances are taken into account when determining if the individual should be relocated or removed from the population. If relocation is warranted, the selection of a relocation site is determined taking into consideration the age, sex, and type of conflict the bear was involved in as well as potential human activity in the vicinity of the relocation site. This particular site was chosen due to the lack of human presence and the ability to release the bear several miles behind closed gates. Consultation with the appropriate personnel and agencies occurs to minimize the chance of future conflicts and maximize the survival potential of the relocated grizzly bear. Bears that are deemed an immediate threat to human safety are not released back into the wild.
Bears are relocated in accordance with state and federal law and regulation. Game and Fish continues to stress the importance of the public’s responsibility in bear management and the importance of keeping all attractants (food items, garbage, horse feed, bird seed, and others) unavailable to bears. Reducing attractants available to bears reduces human-bear conflicts. For more information on grizzly bear management and reducing the potential for conflicts please visit the Bear Wise Wyoming page. Video of bear release found here https://wgfd.wyo.gov/Regional-Offices/Jackson-Region/Jackson-Region-News/Grizzly-Bear-Relocated.
For further information please contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Grizzly Bear Recovery Coordinator, Hilary Cooley, at (406) 243-4903.