Black bear

Idaho Department of Fish and Game euthanized an adult male black bear in the Island Park area Sunday. (stock photo, not the actual bear from Sunday’s incident)

Idaho Department of Fish and Game officials euthanized an adult male black bear Sunday after it had become food-conditioned and habituated to humans.

Multiple sightings of the bear getting into garbage and poking around cabins in the Mack’s Inn area of Island Park occurred over the past several weeks, a Fish and Game news release said.

“The bear had become accustomed to finding food rewards from humans and no longer showed fear of people,” Fish and Game Bear Biologist Jeremy Nicholson said in the release. “It started peeking in people’s windows during the daylight hours and made no efforts to avoid humans.”

With thousands of campers, anglers and hikers venturing outdoors, the potential for human interactions with bears is on the rise. Fish and Game encourages people to be mindful of their food and garbage and make sure it is inaccessible to bears. The same cautions apply to homeowners in bear country.

“Human safety is always our No. 1 priority,” Nicholson said in the release. “Unfortunately if a bear gains access to human food sources and becomes habituated to humans as this one did, relocation is not an option, and the only way to ensure human safety is by removal of the bear.”

Fish and Game deals with most nuisance bear complaints from July through September when bears are traveling in search of food, the release said. Bears will eat almost anything, including human food, garbage, birdseed, and pet and livestock food.

Bears that become conditioned to raiding these food sources can lose their natural fear of people and can become nuisances or even threats. Live trapping and moving a bear does not always solve the problem, and bears often will need to be euthanized, the release said. That is why biologists often say a fed bear is a dead bear.