Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Grizzlies euthanized after incident with wallaroos

Staff Report | June 1, 2021 3:00 PM

A pair of grizzly bears in Haskill Basin have been euthanized following an incident Thursday night where a llama was killed and six wallaroos were set free.

The bears had been involved in numerous depredations on llamas, sheep, goats and chickens over time near Whitefish, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

On Thursday night, the two bears broke into an enclosure holding numerous animals and killed a llama. The bear pushed through a gate releasing six wallaroos — a type of marsupial found in Australia that are closely related to wallabies and kangaroos.

FWP responded to assist the owner and to attempt efforts to capture the bears. Previous attempts to capture the adult female were unsuccessful during 2020.

Bear management specialists captured the adult female grizzly bear on Monday and its yearling on Tuesday in Haskill Basin, according to a release by FWP. In consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the decision was made to euthanize both bears based upon their history of livestock depredations.

The adult bear was previously captured and fitted with a GPS collar, but the collar malfunctioned and came off in summer of 2019. Data from the collar identified the bear at several sites where livestock had been killed around Whitefish.

Earlier this spring, FWP received reports of sheep killed off East Edgewood. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services set a trap in the area, but was unsuccessful in capturing the bear. Cameras at the site identified the adult female and yearling.

Then several days later, the bears killed goats on private property in Haskill Basin. Additional traps and cameras were set up but efforts were also unsuccessful, according to FWP.

NBC Montana shared a video showing one wallaroo hopping on a road in the Haskill Basin area.