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Cattle-Killing Grizzly Trapped and Killed

August 6, 1996

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) _ Wildlife officials have for the first time killed a grizzly bear for preying on cattle inside Grand Teton National Park, where livestock are sometimes given priority over the threatened species.

The bear, long known to wildlife officials as Grizzly No. 209, was given a lethal injection Sunday, hours state wildlife officials captured it on designated grazing land.

The 9-year-old, 550-pound grizzly had killed dozens of cattle in the last three years, and had preyed on 10 calves in the last two weeks alone, wildlife officials said.

Several times, the bear had been moved to a more remote area of the park, and the grizzly had strayed back repeatedly, said Dave Moody, large predator coordinator for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

``There was nowhere in the Greater Yellowstone area to relocate him that he would not return from,″ Moody said. ``We were out of options in managing No. 209.″

Moody said zoos did not want the bear and other states did not want to take on Wyoming’s problem bears.

Fewer than 1,000 grizzlies survive in the lower 48 states, confined to wild pockets of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and Washington.

They are considered threatened under the Endangered Species Act, but efforts to rebuild grizzly populations have plodded along for years and met resistance from those who fear the ferocious predator.

Grand Teton is one of about 30 national parks that have legislated grazing within their boundaries, but as part of the Yellowstone ecosystem, it also is home to one of the nation’s few remaining grizzly bear populations.

The bears are given top priority in what is called critical grizzly bear habitat, which has saved another cattle killer _ bear No. 203 _ in the Togwotee Pass region east of Grand Teton.

``It’s like having a diplomatic license plate on your car _ you’re not going to get a speeding ticket,″ said Grand Teton spokeswoman Linda Olson. ``But when you step outside of those areas....″

And bear No. 209 repeatedly stepped into land where cattle still roam under the terms of the last three of 26 grazing permits issued when the park was created in 1950.

The Greater Yellowstone Coalition and other groups have fought to prevent the trapping and moving of grizzlies unless the government can show that it has exhausted all other options, such as managing cattle-grazing allotments.

The bear was the third in three years to be killed within the Yellowstone ecosystem, which includes Yellowstone and Grand Teton National parks and six national forests. The other two were killed because they got too accustomed to humans and were rummaging through trash and showing up at cabins.

Tim Stevens, a program assistant for the coalition, said no guidelines were broken in the killing of No. 209, but it points up the need for ``some longer-term solutions.″

``I question overall what national parks are for,″ he said. ``Is it for the wildlife or for other things?″

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