Messy camper must pay costs of relocating grizzly bear from famous roadside clan

News

An Idaho woman was fined more than $5,800 for leaving out food that attracted a grizzly bear to her Grand Teton National Park campsite.

Because of its habituation to humans, the bear was captured and taken on a boat to a remote area of the park.

An announcement from federal prosecutors said Belinda J. Arvidson, 50, of Parma, was fined $5,826.99 and sentenced on Wednesday to four years of unsupervised release because of the misdemeanor offense of improper food storage.

Arvidson had left food and garbage improperly stored at her campsite on June 13, in violation of posted regulations. While she was away, neighboring campers recorded video of a grizzly bear raiding the site.

It was the third day in a row that the bear — described as a 2½-year-old “subadult” — had been seen near campgrounds at the north end of Wyoming’s Jackson Lake. The previous day, people had reportedly thrown food at him from a car.

The bear was captured on the evening of June 13, tranquilized and fitted with a tracking collar, then was taken on a boat to the west side of the lake on June 15.

“The amount of restitution to be paid by Arvidson covers the National Park Service’s costs for this operation, including the cost of a GPS collar now necessary to track the bear’s movement,” the prosecutor’s announcement said.

The bear was identified by the Jackson Hole News & Guide as Grizzly 1028, who is believed to be part of the third generation of a family of famous “roadside bears” that frequent populated areas of the Yellowstone/Tetons park region.

DNA tests are expected to confirm that 1028 was one of two cubs born in 2019 to Grizzly 610, who is now 17 years old. Grizzly 610 is herself the daughter of the 25-year-old Grizzly 399, who has been called “the most famous grizzly in the world” because of the volume of photographs and video she has appeared in.

Grizzly 610’s two 2019 cubs separated from their mother this spring, and one of them immediately started seeking food in residential areas near the park. “He was basically wandering neighborhoods during daylight hours showing zero wariness of people while going from house to house looking for stuff to eat,” Wyoming Game and Fish Department bear biologist Mike Boyce told the Daily, another Jackson Hole publication.

He was aggressively “hazed” by wildlife officers in an attempt to drive him from the area, and then was trapped and relocated, but he returned to the area. On May 22 he was captured and killed by wildlife officials.

The Daily said that though Grizzly 1028 has not been involved in any known run-ins with humans since his relocation, it is possible that he has walked back to the more populated side of the lake. A bear matching his description was reportedly seen this month near the south entrance of Yellowstone National Park.
If he were to again approach humans for food, “euthanizing the bear may become necessary,” said the press release about the case.

Grand Teton National Park Superintendent Chip Jenkins added: “Irresponsible behaviors have consequences, and many times it is the wildlife that pays the ultimate price.”