The Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Department euthanized a female grizzly bear after confirming through DNA tests that she was responsible for killing one camper just outside Yellowstone National Park and wounding two others. The bear's three cubs were sent off to the Billings zoo. Federal guidelines call for removing such bears from the wild, but was it really necessary to kill the mama grizzly? (See grizzly bears in Yellowstone)
The bear had to die: Putting down a 300-pound bear who's killed and partially eaten a human in a "particularly vicious attack" is "a no-brainer," says Sean Reichard at Yellowstone Insider. Lots of people are shouting online to let the mama grizzly live, but "internet rhetoric is cheap," especially for those who don't have to live around a bear who will kill again. This was "certainly not normal grizzly behavior," thank goodness.
"Should killer griz been allowed to live?"
It's the bears' world, we're only visiting: "Out of the normal range of grizzly behavior"? asks Nick Coleman in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "This would be news to the grizzly, the second-largest carnivore in North America." The truth is that when you step into the grizzlies' shrinking world, you assume a small risk. If that's scary for you, "it hasn't been a picnic for the bears, either." Deal with it.
"Bear attack? Gonna need a bigger world"
This is driven by lawsuits more than safety: Bear attacks are rare, but "imagine the hue and cry" if the grizzlies were "released back into the wild and one of them killed another person," says Dave Smith in Examiner.com. And imagine the lawsuits. In the end, the threat of huge legal damages — like the $15 million awarded against Arizona after a 1996 rampage by a repeat-offender bear — is why officials had to kill the mama bear.
"Officials kill grizzly bears to head-off lawsuits before they arise"