Grand Teton Grizzly Bear Cub ‘Hazed’ After Venturing into Wyoming Neighborhood

by Amy Myers

Grand Teton wildlife officials have been keeping a close eye on a potentially troublesome grizzly bear and her four cubs as they have just parted ways earlier this spring. Now, they’ve had to intervene when one of the adolescent bears decided to travel too far into the residential area.

The bear cub was one of the two from the grizzly sow, 399, that officials collared last year. According to national park rangers, the cub as well as an uncollared sibling ventured into the Solitude subdivision Thursday evening. The following morning, rangers tracked and “hazed” the bear using cracker shell rounds. These rounds sting the bear while administering a loud bang that encourages bears to stay away from particular areas.

Hazing is a vital tool that wildlife officials often use for scavengers like bears. The technique causes no harm to the animals. Rather it dissuades them from destructive and potentially fatal behaviors for both the bears themselves as well as humans.

“This is fully what we were anticipating,” Grand Teton National Park’s bear management specialist Justin Schwabedissen said, according to Jackson Hole Daily. “As the family group separates and these cubs go off on their own, we’re certainly concerned that some of these cubs may move south outside of the park and head onto private lands.”

Grand Teton Park Staff Warns Locals to Refrain from Following Grizzly Bear Cubs

Thankfully, the bear did not gain access to any human food or come in contact with any people on Thursday. But it takes two to create a bear encounter.

According to Grand Teton staff, humans need a reminder to keep their distance as well. Apparently, some folks were following the bears a little too closely in order to get a good picture.

“Some of the photographers and visitors who are coming are getting really close to these bears, a lot closer than is safe,” said Grand Teton Chief of Staff Jeremy Barnum.

Barnum implored locals not to “attempt to scoot in just a little closer for that greater photo.”

Earlier this month, officials alerted the public when they knew that the cubs separated from their mother. In a release, Grand Teton staff reminded the public to store any food or attractants. These bears are here to stay. In order to coexist, human residents need to make a couple of adjustments, too.

“Living and recreating in bear country requires awareness and actions on our part to keep both bears and humans safe,” the park shared in the release. “As the grizzly bear population expands within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, bears continue to disperse across their historical range but also into more populated areas.”

“Unfortunately, more often than not, ‘a fed bear is a dead bear.’”