Not a Grizzly: Food-Conditioned Bear in Lander Area Investigated

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Wyoming Game and Fish Photo.

Picture above from 2009 of a black bear in the Marsden Pass area

LANDER — The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has investigated recent reports of a brown or cinnamon colored bear sighted along trails of the Popo Agie Middle Fork drainage, mostly between Stough Creek Lakes and Sheep Bridge.

Although Game and Fish has documented grizzly bears in the southern Wind River Mountains previously, investigations by Game and Fish have confirmed with photographic evidence that the animal recently involved in several conflicts is a black bear, despite some initial rumors of it being a grizzly bear.

“The behavior of this black bear suggests it has received a food reward in the past and now, unfortunately, may be exhibiting some food conditioned behavior,” says Brian DeBolt, large carnivore conflict coordinator for the Game and Fish.

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“In conjunction with the Shoshone National Forest, we have posted signs at trailheads and would like to remind folks to always be bear aware and to report any conflict activities or bold behavior from bears immediately to the Game and Fish.  Keeping a clean camp with attractants secured is critical to prevent bears from becoming potentially dangerous to people,” according to DeBolt.

As a reminder, food storage orders are in place on the Shoshone National Forest to avoid bears from obtaining human foods or attractants.

Game and Fish is continuing to monitor bear activities in this area and appreciates the support from the public in reporting human-wildlife conflicts.

Recent picture of the reported bear by Wyoming Game and Fish.

To learn more about food storage, staying safe in bear country, and how to properly identify bears visit https://wgfd.wyo.gov/bear-wise-wyoming.

And please report bear encounters immediately to Game and Fish at 1-877-WGFD-TIP or in a text message to TIP411 (using keyword WGFD).