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Grizzly attacks pigs near McArthur Lake

by EMILY BONSANT
Staff Writer | June 3, 2022 1:00 AM

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McARTHUR LAKE — Two pigs were reported mauled by a grizzly bear last month, with a third pig reported missing and later found dead.

The incident happened sometime in the evening of May 23, according to Idaho Department of Fish and Game officials.

“We believe, but don’t know at this time, that it was the same bear that mauled a llama and a sheep April 5 and 7,” said Jeremy Gaffield, IDFG conservation officer.

Gaffield said it was likely the same grizzly since the two properties where mauling took place are only a mile or two apart as the crow flies. He said that neither of the landowners in the two incidents had electric fences. Electric fences are a huge deterrent and tool to push animals and predators away from domestic livestock, Gaffield said.

While they believe it is likely the same bear, Gaffield said Fish and Game does not have proof if it is the same bear. As of May 31, Gaffield had reported that the bear has not yet been found.

The grizzly bear population is increasing and is encouraged to increase so the state can have 100% management over the bears still covered under the endangered species act, he said.

If this is the first offense of the bear, Gaffield said it will be relocated. If it is the same bear that was involved in the April 5 and 7 attacks, then it will be euthanized, he added.

Gaffield said the bear from the April attack had been habituated by humans, becoming used to human foods and digging into trash. When animals get used to human foods, they seek them out, leading to conflicts, Gaffield said.

Any bear sighting should be reported to Idaho Fish and Game’s regional office at 208-769-1414. Reports will help him and others to track the animals, Gaffield said.

Gaffield advises landowners to make sure livestock and feed is picked up and inside an electric fence.

It only takes one bear to cause a problem. Once they realize they can get a meal, they will return, he said.

He also advised hunters when harvesting to remove the entire carcass from the hunting site. He suggested that the remainder of the carcass be taken to the dump. This will also keep predators away.

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