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As a result of continued harassment by wildlife viewers creating unsafe conditions on Togwotee Pass, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and partners plan to conduct targeted hazing operations on grizzly bear 863.

DENVER – As a result of continued harassment by wildlife viewers creating unsafe conditions on Togwotee Pass, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and partners plan to conduct targeted hazing operations on grizzly bear 863.

USFWS is asking the public to avoid the area if possible and not interfere with these management operations, currently planned for the remainder of June. Allowing wildlife experts to address this issue uninterrupted will increase the chances of this management tactic being successful.

This operation will be conducted alongside partners at the U.S. Forest Service, Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming Highway Patrol and Wyoming Game & Fish Department.

Approaching, disturbing or feeding bears – as is occurring on Togwotee Pass – is extremely dangerous to both humans and bears.

These actions habituate animals to human development and can lead to dangerous human-conditioned behaviors. When this happens, bears may become aggressive and threaten human safety.

If hazing does not resolve conflicts on Togwotee Pass, escalating management options include relocation and possibly euthanasia.

By avoiding approaching or feeding bears, the public can help ensure that the need for such significant management options is unnecessary.

A female grizzly bear, known as 863 by wildlife managers and “Felicia” by public observers, and her two cubs have become habituated to the roadside along Highway 26/287.

As more people become aware of these bears and stop to approach them, it creates unsafe conditions for people and wildlife. The public’s help is needed to ensure the continued safety of these bears and people passing through the area.

USFWS and our partners continue to raise calls to the public to stay safe and help keep grizzly bears wild.

USFWS again reminds residents and visitors that approaching, feeding, or otherwise disturbing grizzly bears poses a significant threat to humans and bears, in addition to being a federal offense under the Endangered Species Act.

Please remember to:

  • Never approach bears; always remain at least 100 yards (300 feet) away, or about the length of a football field
  • Practice ethical wildlife viewing by remaining a safe distance and never disturbing natural behaviors – if an animal notices you and/or changes their behavior or actions, you are too close
  • Never feed, leave food for, or make food accessible to bears
  • Obey traffic signs, laws, and regulations – stop only in designated pull-off areas
  • Follow the direction of wildlife management officials, do not interfere with or approach hazing operations

Additional grizzly bear safety information is available from the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee for residents, hunters, hikers/campers, farmers/ranchers, and wildlife watchers. Visit http://igbconline.org/.

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