The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service is investigating the shooting of a grizzly bear near Rose Lake, Idaho.
The 300-pound male grizzly was shot dead late Sunday by the operator of an elk farm who told game officers that he mistook the grizzly for a black bear.
“He said the bear had killed one of his elk. … He was looking to protect the rest of his herd,” said Chip Corsi, regional supervisor for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. “Rose Lake is not a place here you’d expect to see a grizzly bear.”
The small community is about 25 miles east of Coeur d’Alene on Interstate 90. The man, whose name was being withheld by wildlife officials, contacted game officers after the shooting.
Idaho law allows property owners to kill predators, such as black bears, that are attacking livestock. However, grizzlies in the northern Rockies are protected under the Endangered Species Act.
People authorized to kill black bears are responsible for clearly identifying their target to avoid shooting grizzlies.
Idaho Fish and Game referred the matter to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for further investigation.
The grizzly was shot in a remote area north of I-90. Corsi said the bear was 4 to 5 years old.
It was the first confirmed grizzly in the area for many decades. Through genetic testing, wildlife agents hope to learn where the bear originated. The closest grizzly population is in the Cabinet Mountains on the Idaho-Montana border. But bears can wander long distances.
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