Bear that killed hiker shot dead after breaking into home with its cub

A bear was euthanized after it broke into a home to steal dog food, a month after it killed a woman on a hiking trail near Yellowstone National Park.

A mother bear and her cub were caught breaking into an occupied home on Saturday, where they stole a can of dog food from the kitchen before running away.

Rangers from the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Department (FWP) shot the mother bear after the break-in the same day, the agency said.

The euthanization was necessary due to an ‘immediate public safety threat from the bear’s food-conditioned behavior.’

The suspect was a 10-year-old female grizzly bear who had been captured once before for research purposes in 2017.

Through genetic analysis and other ‘identifying characteristics,’ staff at the department confirmed the bear was also responsible for the deadly attack on a female hiker on a trail in the Gallatin National Forest in July.

Authorities also believe the same bear was involved in a 2020 attack that left one hiker injured at Henrys Lake State Park in Idaho.

The bear was not euthanized earlier because the two attacks were determined to be ‘defensive responses.’

However, the FWP did attempt to capture the bear after the deadly July attack due to her close proximity to homes, campgrounds, and hiking trails. All of these efforts were unsuccessful, the department said.

Meanwhile, the mother bear’s cub was taken to the FWP’s animal rehab facility in Helena.

The cub was was identified as a 46-pound male. Authorities did not determine the cub’s age, but adult male grizzly bears usually weigh anywhere between 400 and 600 pounds, according to the University of Montana’s Grizzly Bear Recovery Program.

The FWP plans to transfer the cub to a zoo in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, the FWP is also warning residents to be alert and prepare for encounters with bears, who are currently preparing for their winter hibernation.

‘Montana is bear country,’ the department said. ‘Grizzly bear populations continue to become denser and more widespread in Montana, increasing the likelihood that residents and recreationists will encounter them in more places each year.’

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