Pointing to continued harassment by bear watchers that have created unsafe conditions on Togwotee Pass, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will conduct targeted hazing operations on the grizzly bear known as 863. The public is asked to avoid the area not to interfere with these management operations, currently planned for the remainder of June 2021. Officials say that allowing wildlife experts to address this issue uninterrupted will increase the chances the hazing being successful.
Approaching, disturbing, or feeding bears, as is occurring on Togwotee Pass, is extremely dangerous to both humans and bears. These actions habituate animals to human development and can lead to dangerous human conditioned behavior. When this happens, bears may become aggressive and threaten human safety. If hazing does not resolve conflicts on Togwotee Pass, escalating management options include relocation and possibly euthanasia. By avoiding approaching or feeding bears, the public can help ensure that the need for such significant management options is unnecessary.
The female grizzly bear and her two cubs have become habituated to the roadside along Highway 26/287. As more people become aware of these bears and stop to approach them, it creates unsafe conditions for people and wildlife. The public’s help is needed to ensure the continued safety of these bears and people passing through the area.
photo Credit: Todd Stiles/U.S. Forest Service