Bears: they’re just like us. They smell food and beer and they come a-lumberin’. The most recent case of bear/human contact involves a woman who got slapped with a $5,826.99 fine. Why? Because she attracted a bear with improperly stored food at her campsite in Grand Teton National Park. Can’t blame the bear for wanting to get in on a little garbage action.
In a statement, Department of Justice officials said the 50-year-old Idahoan was charged with a misdemeanor after failing to properly store garbage and beverages at her campsite in the park. Per the statement, a grizzly bear found the bounty and rummaged through the garbage, enjoying a smorgasbord of camping snacks before retiring for the evening.
The campsite reportedly featured “multiple warning signs about bears and proper food storage,” and the park provided “bear boxes” for safe storage. The woman failed to follow protocol, leading the bear to ransack the camp and discover a reward. Unfortunately, the bear now associates that area with food, increasing the chances that the bear will return for another snack bar extravaganza. To prevent that from happening, officials had to tranquilize and collar the bear, moving it to another area of the park. “It could pose a danger to humans if the bear were to have another similar incident, and euthanizing the bear may become necessary,” officials wrote in the statement.
“Irresponsible behaviors have consequences, and many times it is the wildlife that pays the ultimate price,” Grand Teton National Park Superintendent Chip Jenkins said in the DOJ release. “We all have responsibilities to preserve and protect the incredible wild animals of Grand Teton National Park and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.” For this perpetrator, that means four years of “unsupervised release” and paying the fine, which will cover the cost of relocating and tracking the bear. For the rest of us, that means paying attention to wildlife protocols when hanging out in the woods. Do it for the bears!