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Idaho Fish and Game

F&G euthanizes sow black bear in Ketchum after second incident of an aggressive bear raiding garbage


Bear is suspected to be involved in both incidents, but it's difficult to confirm it was the same bear

Idaho Fish and Game personnel and local law enforcement responded to an aggressive bear in a Ketchum neighborhood, which resulted in a sow being euthanized and two cubs captured. The cubs will be taken to Snowdon Wildlife Sanctuary in McCall for rehabilitation.

Early morning on July 18, Fish and Game staff received a call about a bear that was rooting in garbage cans and then growled and snapped at a resident. The incident occurred roughly a block from another another bear/garbage incident that occurred a week before where a bear eating garbage charged a Ketchum woman.

Fish and Game officials suspect, but can not confirm, that it was the same bear in both incidents.

When Fish and Game staff arrived, a large, sow black bear was in a tree with two cubs. The adult bear was darted to sedate it, but after falling from the tree, the bear died from a combination of stress and effects from the sedation and capture. However, Fish and Game staff had planned to euthanize the bear.

“Due to her aggressiveness toward people, we could not in good conscience release her and have her end up in someone else’s home or camp,” Magic Valley Regional Wildlife Manager Mike McDonald said.

He added it was an unfortunate situation all the way around because despite repeated warnings, trash cans have repeatedly been left out overnight in the area, which attracts bears and causes a risk to public safety.

This is the second case in July of black bears being euthanized after getting into trash. On July 14, Fish and Game staff captured and euthanized a young male black bear at Stoddard Creek Campground in Eastern Idaho after it had raided garbage left out by careless campers. The food-conditioned bear showed no fear of humans, and it repeatedly ripped open coolers and pushed on tents in search of food.

“Human safety is always our top concern,” McDonald said. “We simply can’t have these bears roaming neighborhoods and camps in search of food. The risk is too great, and the best way people can prevent these incidents is to be especially careful to not leave out things that attract bears, particularly household garbage.”

While Idaho’s overall black bear population is healthy and stable, Fish and Game personnel want to avoid needless wildlife deaths, and they encourage people to be mindful of attracting wildlife, whether bears, or other animals, that cause problems when they associate homes and people with food.

The orphaned cubs will be raised in a special pen at Snowdon Wildlife Sanctuary that keeps them separated from humans, and McDonald said he hopes they can be released into the wild in late fall.