Glacier National Park recently moved a family of black bears from the Rising Sun campground area after the bruins killed a marmot near the auto campground and were getting pretty close to people.
The sow, tagged as number 324, had been frequenting the campground and displaying a pattern of habituated behavior, the Park said in a release. Her cub of the year also showed signs of being habituated to humans.
Earlier this month Bear 324 apparently killed an animal in the brush near the campground. The loud sounds and lack of visibility in the brush led to the temporary closure of the upper loop of the campground. The remains of a marmot were located the next day.
The following day, park resource management staff encountered bear 324 and her cub in the closed upper loop of the campground. The sow and cub traveled into the occupied loop, despite efforts to keep her out. She passed through occupied tent sites, paying little attention to the presence of park staff or crowds of onlookers. The cub also stood up and pushed on a tent.
Park resource management staff decided that capturing bear 324 and her cub was an appropriate management action according to the park’s Bear Management Guidelines. The sow was tranquilized and placed in a two-compartment trap. After a short time, the cub entered the back compartment of the trap and was captured.
Then Park staff released bear 324 and her cub in the North Fork district, far from any campgrounds or developed areas. The hope is that living in a less developed setting will allow her to teach future cubs to live in wild areas, feeding and foraging naturally.
Bear 324 was known to Park staff prior to this incident. She was first captured and tagged in 2015 because she was frequenting Rising Sun. Since then, she has raised several cubs in the area, some of which have required relocation. Sows typically pass on habituated behavior to cubs, requiring more management action for successive generations. In 2017, the park fitted bear 324 with a radio collar to allow resource managers and rangers to target her for hazing, which was somewhat effective.
Resource managers decided that bear 324 was a candidate for relocation rather than removal because she did not exhibit a significant pattern of seeking human food, and did not show signs of aggression.
Bears have been active in other parts of the Park as well.
The popular Hole in the Wall backcountry campground had to be closed due to bears for awhile, though it has since reopened.
The site is below and east of Boulder Pass.
In addition, the Park has re-opened Many Glacier Campground to tent camping after Park rangers confirmed that no bear-related incidents have occurred in the area since July 14, when rangers last hazed two bears.
The campground was first restricted to hard-sided camping on July 6 after incidents involving a black bear that damaged property in the campground.
At that time, patrols were increased and the park attempted to trap and tag the suspected black bear, but were unsuccessful.
Last year a young grizzly bear jumped up on a picnic table and ate a person’s freshly caught trout in the Many Glacier auto campground.
That bear got away and was never caught.