May 28, 2009
Contact: Amy Vanderbilt
Contact: Wade Muehlhof
WEST GLACIER, MONT. – In order to keep a black bear from becoming habituated to people, park rangers hazed a black bear in the St Mary area of Glacier National Park Friday evening, May 22.
Rangers used a common bear management aversive conditioning (negative reinforcement) tool called a cracker shell, fired from a shotgun. The cracker shell makes a very loud bang when it explodes and is intended to scare the animal and cause it to flee.
During a follow up the next day, Saturday May 23, a ranger found the black bear dead. A necropsy (an autopsy for animals) determined the cracker shell entered the bear’s body before exploding.
The park will conduct a Board of Review to produce recommendations for management actions and/or for improving strategies and tactics.
The hazing of bears using cracker rounds is one of several tools used by park rangers as aversive conditioning techniques that are employed in accordance with Glacier National Park’s Bear Management Plan and Guidelines.