The lesson here is that it's not much of a bear-resistant container if it isn't properly secured.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks tells us that a female grizzly somewhere in the 3-5-year- old range, was recently euthanized due to her repeated visits to garbage cans. She also managed to help herself to food in a vehicle.

FWP says that over the course of several weeks, the bear, who had no cubs with her, became accustomed to accessing garbage stored in bear-resistant containers that were not secured. The bear also found unsecured food in a vehicle. Even after attractants were stored and secured properly, attempts to haze the bear with electric fencing were unsuccessful.

This incident occurred in Big Sky. It's an illustration of unsecured attractants, such as garbage and bird feeders, leading to human safety risks. Montana FWP also points out that relocating bears that have learned to associate human activity with food usually leads to further conflicts and safety risks, since because bears often return to the same area where they were captured to look for food.

Unfortunately, bears in these situations can’t be rehabilitated.

As grizzly bear numbers continue to grow and grizzlies become more widespread in Montana, the likelihood that residents and outdoor recreation enthusiasts will encounter them in more places each year increases. Bears also become more active in late summer and fall as they spend more time eating in preparation for hibernation.

Please keep garbage, bird feeders, pet food and other attractants put away in a secure building or certified bear-resistant container. Keep garbage in a secure building until the day it is collected. Certified bear-resistant garbage containers are available in many areas.

And of course, never feed wildlife. Bears that become food conditioned lose their natural foraging behavior and pose threats to human safety. Not only is it safer and smarter to be bear aware, remember that it is illegal to feed bears in Montana.

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