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Grizzly bears in North Idaho blamed for several attacks on livestock

While Idaho has few grizzlies, there are about 50 bears in each of the Selkirk and Cabinet-Yak areas in the far northern part of the state.  (Associated Press)
While Idaho has few grizzlies, there are about 50 bears in each of the Selkirk and Cabinet-Yak areas in the far northern part of the state. (Associated Press)

Bears in North Idaho killed two pigs and four goats in a series of livestock attacks in late June near the Canadian border.

The first attack occurred in Good Grief in Boundary County, according to an Idaho Department of Fish and Game news release. The second and third attacks occurred near Elmira in Bonner County.

On June 24, a pig was killed by a confirmed grizzly bear. In response to the incident, an IDFG Conservation Officer along with USDA Wildlife Services staff investigated the scene, provided the landowner with electric fencing to secure remaining livestock and set traps on the property to try and capture the bear, according to the IDFG news release.

The second and third incidents occurred near Elmira in Bonner County. A domestic pig was killed by a confirmed grizzly bear on Tuesday. On Wednesday evening, four goats were killed by a bear on a nearby property.

Further investigation could not confirm the species of the bear responsible for the goats’ deaths, but given the close proximity to the previous attack, it is likely the same grizzly bear, according to IDFG.

Earlier this year, IDFG announced plans to request the federal government remove Endangered Species Act protections for grizzly bears in the Gem State, arguing that allowing the bears to be managed by the state would promote coexistence in rural communities. Montana and Wyoming have submitted similar delisting requests.

There are about 50 bears each in the Selkirk and Cabinet-Yaak recovery areas in the state’s northern Panhandle and none in the Bitterroot Area in north-central Idaho.

Reminders for coexisting with bears

There are some simple steps homeowners and landowners can take to make their properties less attractive to bears and reduce the likelihood of potential problems, according to IDFG.

  • Electric fences are the most effective deterrent for grizzly bears. Secure livestock overnight in a barn, or corral them in an electrified fence.
  • Properly dispose of attractants, including trash, animal carcasses, compost, livestock feed and beehives.
  • Securely store food, garbage and other attractants in a bear-resistant place.
  • Keep pet food secured.
  • Avoid filling bird feeders until wintertime.
  • Do not bury or throw garbage in the woods.
  • Clean grills and keep them in a building, if possible.

Tips for a bear encounter

  • Never approach bears. Always stay at least 300 feet away.
  • Do not interrupt bear activities.
  • Never feed bears.
  • Carry bear spray. Know how to use it.
  • Never run.
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