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Natural Resources & Energy

Famous Grizzly Gets Hazing Treatment; Raises Discussion On How To Manage Humans Around Roadside Grizzlies

A grizzly bear mother, Felicia, and her cubs
Dave M Shumway
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Dave M Shumway
Grizzly 863 or Felicia and her two cubs.

After the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service started hazing a famous grizzly and her two cubs, the public believes the bears will be killed by the agency.

Grizzly 863, also known as Felicia, has been living in an area of Togwotee Pass for the past six years. She has become a popular bear since she can be viewed near the highway.

But the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said in the past couple of weeks, the situation has become unmanageable due to human behavior. They say people are parking illegally and getting too close.

The agency said hazing the bears away from the road will keep them from becoming habituated to humans.

Jackson-based wildlife photographer, Thomas D. Mangelsen, said a better solution is to manage the humans first. Wildlife agencies say they don't have the resources to manage humans, but Mangelsen said they need to be creative.

"We can raise some money to pay interns from maybe colleges who have wildlife programs," said Mangelsen. "Hopefully, we get people that have some wildlife experience and come and spend the summer in places like the Tetons or Yellowstone, watching bears and helping these bears live a good life."

The idea is that these intern wildlife ambassadors could help manage bear jams. Mangelsen said they are talking with the agencies and he hopes something comes out of this discussion.

He's worried Felicia will get killed because a two-year-old grizzly was euthanized earlier this year after he exemplified bad behavior after hazing.

"I feel pretty strongly that the reason that bear was euthanized and ended up where it did was because it was hazed pretty hard and didn't know where to go and 'He got into trouble,'" said Mangelsen.

However, in an email to Wyoming Public Media, the agency said, "There are no plans to kill Grizzly 863. Euthanasia is a management tactic of last resort. It is the goal of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and our partners to avoid this scenario."

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