‘Food conditioned; habituated’ bears in northwest Montana prompt reminder

Posted at 3:26 PM, Jul 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-09 17:26:07-04

KALISPELL – Grizzly and black bears are looking for food across western Montana, and wildlife officials are reminding neighbors to secure or remove food attractants such as garbage, bird feeders and bird seed.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks officials say they had to euthanize two grizzly bears last week in the region because the animals were food-conditioned and habituated to people.

These incidents demonstrate that wild animals may become habituated to people, posing a serious risk to public safety.

FWP wants to remind people that northwest Montana is home to abundant populations of grizzly and black bears.

Chickens and livestock should be properly secured with electric fencing or inside a closed shed with a door.

FWP Region 1 Education officer Dillon Tabish says residents are urged to “Be Bear Aware,” and follow precautionary steps and tips to prevent conflicts.

He says their agency is happy to help residences understand how they can "Be Bear Aware," and be bear-friendly in their properties. 

"Whether that is putting up electric fencing or helping them clean up and identify food attractants," said Tabish adding. "There are also programs. Defenders of Wildlife will help cost-share and pay for some of that electric fencing so properties that are in the bear areas around northwest Montana that want to secure chicken or livestock they can help cover that cost."

If you have questions or concerns about potential conflicts with wildlife or would like more information please contact FWP’s regional headquarters in Kalispell at (406) 752-5501.