Jackson, WY (AP) — A grizzly bear and her four cubs who are already well-known to wildlife watchers got even more attention by taking a nighttime stroll through a city in northwestern Wyoming.
Security video showed the bears wandering around downtown Jackson on Tuesday night, according to local police.
Police and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials shooed the five bears into a less populated area near town, the Jackson Police Department said in a statement Wednesday.
Grizzly No. 399, so named for an ear tag she received after being trapped for study, has been familiar to wildlife watchers for years. She’s had a reputation for lingering with her cubs near roadways in Grand Teton National Park, making her arguably the Yellowstone region’s most well-known grizzly.
Biologists speculate that hanging around people helps keep away male grizzlies, which are known to kill cubs.
Charming as it may seem for a mother bear and four yearling cubs to roam a tourist town, the bears’ behavior has worried wildlife managers. The bears have been raiding garbage, bee apiaries and animal feed in the Jackson area, raising the risk of a dangerous encounter with people.
On Saturday, biologists trapped three of the four cubs. They put tracking collars on two in the hope that knowing the bears’ whereabouts will help prevent problems.
Wildlife managers have urged local residents to keep trash, pumpkins, bird feeders and other potential food out of reach of bears.
Grizzlies in the Yellowstone region are federally protected under the Endangered Species Act. Their numbers have rebounded from 100 or so in the early 1970s to as many as 1,000 today.