3 grizzlies relocated after freezer break-ins

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The adult female grizzly bear was captured on May 16 south of Ferndale. (FWP photo)

State wildlife officials on Wednesday relocated a trio of grizzly bears after they broke into a pair of freezers outside a Ferndale mobile home two nights in a row, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

In a press release, the department said the 9-year-old, 309-pound female grizzly was released at the end of Spotted Bear River Road along with her two yearlings, after they were captured by state biologists.

The adult female bear was previously captured in 2010 near Lakeside after killing chickens in the area, and was relocated near Blacktail Mountain. She had no reported conflicts with humans in the intervening years, according to the press release.

The release states that a Ferndale landowner contacted Fish, Wildlife and Parks after the first two break-ins.

“A temporary electric fence was erected around the freezers and remote cameras were deployed to determine if more than one bear was present,” the release states. “The family group was photographed the next night when they returned, and the electric fence deterred them from accessing the freezers. Two nights later, the bears returned and were able to access the freezers again.”

Grizzly bears have been emerging from their dens and due to the large amount of snow in the mountains, several grizzly bears have moved into the lower elevations where the vegetation has greened up, the department’s press release noted.

Fish, Wildlife and Parks has responded to reports of grizzly bears in the Eureka, Whitefish, Columbia Falls and Ferndale areas, and asks residents to secure attractants such as garbage, pet food, livestock and poultry, fruit and bird seed.

For more information on electric fencing and living in bear country visit fwp.mt.gov/fishAndWildlife/livingWithWildlife/beBearAware/default.html.

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