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Officials euthanize geezer grizzly after barn raid

Wed., Sept. 21, 2011, 8:42 a.m.

GREAT FALLS, Mont. — State wildlife officials have euthanized what they say may be the oldest male grizzly bear ever captured in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem.

Mike Madel, a grizzly bear management specialist for Fish, Wildlife and Parks, says the bear was between 24 and 27 years old.

The bear was captured Saturday after it broke into a barn south of Augusta. It was euthanized Monday at the FWP’s Bozeman laboratory.

Its teeth had worn down and decayed, making it difficult for the grizzly to fend for itself or forage. Madel tells the Great Falls Tribune that age and poor health probably prompted it to leave its usual habitat in search of food

Madel says that male grizzlies don’t often make it past 22 or 23. Female grizzlies typically live longer.

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