Center for Wildlife Information
Be Bear Aware and Wildlife Stewardship Campaigns


"A fed animal is a dead animal"
Chicago Tribune,
Sunday, July 19, 1992
Alfred Boreover

Glacier National Park, Montana - "A fed animal is a dead animal."  That's the admonition from the national park rangers as well as the Center for Wildlife information in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

Animals in the wilderness should not be fed anything by visitors under any circumstances.  "not feeding the animals includes not leaving available to them boxes, wrappers, cans of any type, whether it was used for food or any other product such as film, cigarettes, etc." advises the Center for Wildlife Information.  "If it has an odor, they will try to eat it."

National park rangers can issue violation notices to visitors intentionally feeding park wildlife.  Visitors have been prosecuted and fined by the U.S. magistrate in Kalispell, said Amy Vanderbilt, a Glacier park ranger and public affairs officer.  Maximum fines for improper food storage or feeding of wildlife is $500 and six months in jail.

Last month, careless campers caused two black bears to be destroyed.  "A sub-adult female black bear was shot and killed by rangers in the vicinity of Bowman Lake campground," Vanderbilt said.

Campers saw the black bear wandering though the campground liking fire grates and chewing on water bottles, she said.  The bear also swiped at several tens hitting one woman but causing no injury.

Vanderbilt said the bear was destroyed because of its conditioning to human food and its aggressive behavior.

A week later an adult female black bear was observed walking from one bear-proof garbage can to another, unsuccessfully attempting to remove food and garbage by reaching though the revolving lid.

"Recent attempts to place food-conditioned bears with either zoos or approved research facilities have been unsuccessful," she said.

"The potentially dangerous behavior of the bear precluded park officials from relocating the animal in the wild in accordance with the park's bear management policy," so the bear was trapped and destroyed.

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Chuck Bartlebaugh is now with the Be Bear Aware Campaign
and can be reached at 406-239-2315 or by email at

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