Don’t kill bears for acting like bears

Finding a man’s body in Yellowstone the day after he was killed by a grizzly is not a pretty sight. And certainly, it is a tragedy, writes PERC research assistant Brennan Jorgensen, “but so is tracking down and killing a wild animal in its own territory.”

Jorgensen points out that more than $24 million dollars have gone toward grizzly recovery efforts in the greater Yellowstone area, but now park officials are spending ridiculous amounts to find and kill one bear.

Unfortunately, it is not surprising that political responses to public fears  trump spending millions in the name of science. As YNP Superintendent Dan Wenk  admitted, “We’ll never know which bears  caused the fatality.” And yet, the search, and high price of pursuit continues,  if only to appease public pressures.

Jorgensen asks, “couldn’t the funds be better allocated for the conservation and management of the park? Or perhaps even used preemptively for visitor education? The cost should end with the loss of life and not further drain the shallow coffers of the National Park.”

Yellowstone is not a zoo or Disneyland, but a wilderness. It does not offer wild  tea cup rides, but rather wild animals. Visitors should be properly prepared and respectful. Read the signs, hike in groups, and bring bear spray.

Read more


  1. Ed Skeslien says:

    Guest opinion in the Great Falls Tribune 10/6/11. States ” a good national park is a place where the ecosystem is allowed to follow its natural course without human interference”. And yet, we spent $24 million dollars on recovering the endangered grizzly bear. My question, what part of natural course don’t you understand, spending $24 million dollars is human interference isn’t it?
    Another thing about the grizzly bear. We had a sow and two cubs visiting our golf course here in Shelby twelve hours after one hundred cross country kids ran last week. I would hope they could be moved very soon. Thanks Ed