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Ketchum city council to address wildlife interactions

Posted at 5:53 PM, Jul 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-27 19:55:15-04

KETCHUM, Idaho — The City of Ketchum will address recent issues with wildlife interactions during its next city council meeting on August 1.

Over the month of July there have been three separate instances of black bears either going through garbage or negatively interacting with humans. This has led to Idaho Fish and Game euthanizing one black bear and setting traps to capture and euthanize others.

“It’s really not an animal issue. It’s a people issue. We can change our behavior to discourage animals to look for food in our town,” said Ketchum Mayor Neil Bradshaw.

The most recent incident occurred on Monday, July 25 after a woman and her dog encountered a black bear. The dog was left with puncture wounds after engaging with the bear.

Earlier this month a woman was charged by a bear who was seen going through her trash.

The City of Ketchum and Idaho Fish and Game encourage everyone to lock up their trashand not leave it out overnight. Bears have a strong sense of smell and are easily drawn to trash.

Once a bear is food conditioned, relocation no longer becomes an option because the bears can easily remember and return to the location of a food source.

Related: 'A fed bear is a dead bear': IDFG placing bear traps in Wood River Valley for food-conditioned bears

This leaves Idaho Fish and Game with their hands tied, with no choice but to prioritize public safety, leading to the tough decision of having to euthanize wildlife.

“It’s 100 percent preventable if we can be aware of where we are at. We’re in bear habitat and we need to secure our garbage and make sure that we are keeping our wildlife wild and people safe,” said regional wildlife biologist Miranda Reinson.

The City of Ketchum is considering a few options such as wildlife proof trash cans but the most immediate response they are moving toward is fining those who leave out garbage cans.

“To basically make it illegal to put out trash earlier and that could be enforced and fined. If that’s what it takes to change peoples behavior, that’s what we will consider doing,” said Mayor Bradshaw.

For more information on the most recent black bear incident, click here.