BILLINGS – Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks staff captured a young black bear last week after complaints that it had been hanging around homes in Ballantine and eating garbage.
Because the 125-pound male black bear had not been in trouble before, it was tranquilized, fitted with an ear tag and later released in a rural setting where it is far from human garbage.
Wild animals and people often do not mix well, particularly when the wildlife gets aggressive in the search for food. Those animals often are euthanized if they become conditioned to garbage, human food or livestock.
People can help keep themselves safe and the animals out of trouble by being vigilant and removing any opportunity for bears to find food in or around their homes, businesses and vehicles.
Unsecured garbage cans, bird feeders, fruit on the ground under trees and other attractants are common in some neighborhoods. In more rural settings, compost piles, beehives and livestock food can attract hungry animals.
Garbage, barbecue grills, pet food, horse pellets and livestock feed are best kept in a locked building. Removing bird feeders and clean up apples, berries and other potential food sources from yards can also help prevent conflicts. Even odors and spills from barbecue cooking can attract bears so thoroughly cleaning desks and patios can be a good step as well. For larger attractants, such as compost piles, electric fencing can deter bears.
If wild animals do not find food in one location, they will look elsewhere. Animals will not stay where they don’t find food.