Wyoming has three fewer grizzly bears following an unsuccessful trapping and relocation effort. Earlier this year, Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) officials had to trap a sow and her two cubs after they were caught hunting cattle near Cody, Wyoming.
According to KCWY13, WGFD trapped the three grizzlies and relocated them to the Snake River area near Jackson, Wyoming, in September. Unfortunately, six weeks later, the sow traveled with her family nearly 150 miles back to the Cody area, prompting WGFD to contact the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) for guidance on what to do next. FWS told WGFD to “put them down,” KCWY13 reports.
“This is certainly the furthest east we have had to trap a grizzly bear, in recent history, as far back as the seventies. I don’t have history before that, but certainly, since grizzlies have been put on the Endangered Species List, we have not had to trap one this far east,” said WGFD Wildlife Supervisor Dan Smith.
FWS decided it was best to put the sow and cubs down because “she had gotten into trouble before, was too close to humans, and returned to the area from where she had been relocated,” KCWY13 reports.
Federal protections were restored to Yellowstone grizzly bears in a landmark ruling in September. Hunts scheduled for Wyoming and Idaho were canceled. In his decision, U.S. District Court Judge Dana Christensen says that the federal government neglected to use the best available science when it made its decision to remove the bears from the threatened species list last year.