JACKSON, Wyo. – The United States Fish and Wildlife Service mentionned on June 11, that he was working on a plan to carry out a targeted hazing operation against a local grizzly bear that was located near a busy highway in Wyoming.
The bear, commonly known to wildlife personnel and local observers as “Felicia” or Grizzly Bear 863, is said to have become unresponsive to human interactions. The same goes for her two cubs, who appear not to run when people approach them to take photos, officials say.
Felicia is typically spotted along Highway 26/287, located in Yellowstone National Park, about 55 miles east of Jackson.
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The agency urges local residents or travelers to avoid animals due to the potential for dangerous interactions.
So far, Felicia hasn’t appeared to be aggressive towards any human bystander, or attempt to attack anyone – but the US Fish and Wildlife Service is taking no chances.
“Due to continued harassment from wildlife watchers creating unsafe conditions on Togwotee Pass in Wyoming, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and partners are planning to conduct targeted hazing operations on Grizzly Bear 863,” said the service.
“Approaching, disturbing or feeding bears – as happens at Togwotee Pass – is extremely dangerous to humans and bears. These actions accustom animals to human development and can lead to dangerous conditioned human behavior. When this happens, bears can become aggressive and threaten human security, ”the service added.
People and cars pictured near Felicia on US Highway 26/287. (Credit: Todd Stiles / US Forest Service)
But the US Fish and Wildlife Service said if hazing tactics to get the bear and her cubs out of the area fail, they may have to resort to euthanizing the animal to prevent human death or injury.
“While hazing does not resolve conflicts over the Togwotee Pass, increasing management options include relocation and possibly euthanasia. By avoiding approaching or feeding bears, the public can help ensure that the need for such important management options is unnecessary, ”the agency said.
The plan to eventually kill the bear has met with backlash from local advocates, who have created an online petition calling for another way to address the issue.
“The account the Fish and Wildlife Service uses of calling this family a so-called ‘dangerous situation’ is – to put it bluntly – absurd,” wrote the petitioners.
So far, over 21,000 signatures have been collected in hopes of saving Felicia’s life.
This story was reported from Los Angeles.