Bears and bears and wolves, oh my!

A black bear wanders through an Evanston yard Wednesday morning. It was later euthenized by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. (COURTESY PHOTO/Paul Cameron)

Black bears make way to two Uinta County towns; grizzly confirmed near Kemmerer; wolf kills livestock in Rich County

EVANSTON — A black bear caught rambling around Evanston in recent days was captured and euthanized, according to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. The bear was caught on Wednesday, June 3, after first being spotted in the Grass Valley area on Saturday, May 30.

According to a press release from Game and Fish, the bear tipped over multiple garbage cans and fed on the contents in Grass Valley on May 30 and was subsequently spotted in residential areas over the next several days, continuing to feed from trash containers.

Early on the morning of June 3, the bear was filmed pulling planks from fencing at a home in the Twin Ridge area and was then spotted by several juveniles who were camping out in a tent in a family’s backyard.

Evanston resident Paul Cameron, father of the kids camping out, shared details of his encounter with the bear. Cameron said his two kids were in the tent in their backyard when the children came in the house at about 5 a.m. reporting there was a bear in the yard.

Cameron said his 9-year-old daughter heard a noise and woke up her 12-year-old brother, who peeked out of the tent, saw the bear clambering on the fence, grabbed his sister’s hand and then quickly and quietly ran in the house.

“You know, kids have imaginations, and I didn’t know if they thought they saw a bear and it was maybe just a racoon, or if they were maybe playing a joke on me, but sure enough there was a bear,” Cameron said.

He said the bear climbed over the fence into a neighbor’s yard and wandered around while Cameron snapped a photo, and then just “kind of sat down in some bushes and hung around,” as Cameron’s wife called to report the bear. In Facebook posts with additional details, Cameron said the bear had evidently been making its way through multiple yards in the area, climbing over fences and even on to trampolines, clearing 7-foot tall fences and leaving claw marks more than 6 feet high on others.

Game and Fish said the bear had to be euthanized because it had received multiple food rewards and showed little fear of human presence.

“Human safety is Game and Fish’s priority and relocating a bear that is habituated to humans would only move a high-risk bear to another location,” the release states. 

In an interesting coincidence, another bear was spotted near Lyman on the same day as the bear in Evanston was euthanized. Mountain View Game Warden Allen Deru said that particular bear was spotted on the outskirts of Lyman and has evidently left the area because there have been no additional sightings. Tige Jorgensen shared Facebook videos and photos of that bear, which he spotted near Lyman High School while he was outside irrigating.

In other wildlife news, Game and Fish verified the presence of a grizzly bear in the southern Wyoming Range, northeast of Viva Naughton Reservoir. A press release regarding that bear said a remote camera had captured pictures of the grizzly and Game and Fish staff had further verified the presence of grizzly bear tracks and hair samples in the same area the pictures were taken.

The press release states, “This is the furthest south verified location of a grizzly bear since well before recovery efforts began in the 1970s. The location is approximately 65 miles south of the demographic monitoring area (DMA), which is the area considered suitable for long-term viability of grizzly bears by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and is further evidence of a recovered and growing grizzly bear population.”

The release said the bear was unmarked and was not known to be involved with any conflicts, with pictures and track size indicative of a “subadult” bear. “Game and Fish will continue to monitor the situation and wants to stress the importance of reporting any conflicts with large carnivores immediately to local Game and Fish personnel. Hair samples were obtained at the site for further analysis and comparisons with the grizzly bear population genetic database for the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.”

According to Game and Fish, “The key to preventing conflicts with bears is to prevent bears from becoming food conditioned by securing attractants like human food, pet and livestock foods, garbage or bird seed. If a bear is frequenting your property or is exhibiting unnatural behaviors, report it to the nearest Game and Fish office, local game warden or wildlife biologist, or Game and Fish dispatch at 1-877-WGFD-TIP.

Additionally, the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food has reportedly confirmed the presence of a wolf in Rich County, Utah, after a dead calf was found on Tuesday, June 2, with bite marks consisted with those of a wolf. Authorities are reportedly investigating the incident and working to trap the wolf.

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