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Captured grizzly won’t be heading to WSU, officials say

Wed., July 14, 2010, 2:08 p.m.

Washington State University officials today said they will not take possession of a male grizzly bear that wandered from the Rocky Mountains to the Loma, Mont., area last year and was captured Monday after breaking into a chicken coop northeast of Great Falls.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials have decided the bear will not be released into the wild again.

Grizzly management specialist Mike Madel had said the agency was awaiting word on whether a research facility at Washington State University would accept the bear. If not, it will be euthanized.

Charlie Powell, a WSU spokesman, said the bear will not be taken into the WSU Bear Center, which has a colony of about a dozen grizzlies under research.

Those bears are the subjects of several studies on hibernation, physiology and bear nutrition in the veterinary and agricultural colleges.

The captured Montana bear roamed an estimated 175 miles last year onto the Montana prairie, almost to Loma, before it was captured after dining on a sheep. The bear was relocated to the Flathead National Forest west of the Continental Divide.

It was the first time that bear managers had seen a grizzly that far east of the Rockies, but that the bears historically had ranged across the Montana prairie, according to the Great Falls Tribune.

The bear reappeared Saturday on a farm north of Carter and nabbed a pair of chickens out of a coop. Two traps were set. The bear was snared on Monday, the Tribune said.

The recapture occurred to the southwest of Loma where it was caught last year. Carter is located between Loma and Great Falls.

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