ISLAND PARK, Idaho— Five conservation organizations are offering rewards for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the illegal shooting of a female grizzly bear in Fremont County, Idaho. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game confirmed Monday that a 6-to-8-week-old cub also died in its den as a result of its mother’s death.
The reward consists of pledges totaling $30,000 from five conservation organizations, including the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, the Humane Society of the United States, the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife and one anonymous organization. Citizens Against Poaching and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are also offering rewards of $5,000 each, for a total reward of $40,000.
“There have been decades of collaborative conservation work in Idaho since grizzly bears were listed as threatened. This bear was not only a productive female, but incredibly important to research. Poaching incidents like this only exacerbate our challenges for long-term grizzly bear conservation,” said Kathy Rinaldi, Idaho Conservation Coordinator for the Greater Yellowstone Coalition.
Grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem are currently listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. It is illegal to shoot a grizzly bear in Idaho unless in self-defense.
The bear’s carcass was found partially submerged in the Little Warm River near Island Park, Idaho. The incident took place between March 15 and March 23, according to Fish and Game.
This is the third grizzly bear shooting in the same general area over the past seven months. In September an adult male grizzly was shot and killed in Coyote Meadows. In November a young male bear was killed near Cold Springs Road. All three cases remain under investigation.
“The third illegal killing of a grizzly bear near Island Park in less than seven months is appalling,” said Andrea Zaccardi, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The killing of even one grizzly is a setback to bear recovery, but this poaching led to two dead bears, including a young cub that likely starved to death in its den. The cowardly act of killing this mother grizzly bear must be punished.”
“Poaching is a serious crime and a threat to grizzly bears and other wildlife,” said Erin Edge, senior Rockies and Plains representative at Defenders of Wildlife. “We urge anyone with information about this heinous crime to come forward.”
Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to call the department’s Upper Snake Regional Office at (208) 525-7290 or the Citizens Against Poaching hotline at (800) 632-2999. A report can also be made online at https://idfg.idaho.gov/poacher. Callers may remain anonymous.
This article was first published by The Center for Biological Diversity. Lead Image: Grizzly bear photo courtesy of Yellowstone National Park Service.
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